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From group to regiment, regiment to battalion: Marines continue to drawdown in Iraq

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Combat Logistics Battalion 46 officially took over for Combat Logistics Regiment 27 (Forward) as the logistics combat element during a Transfer of Authority ceremony aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 16.

The battalion, which arrived in theater this past August, is the first all-reserve logistics battalion to serve during Operation Iraqi Freedom and will now, at approximately 1,000 service members, be the smallest unit to serve as the logistics combat element. This is one of many reductions the Marine Corps has recently made in Iraq.  One of which included the downsize of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) to a regiment in September of this year. CLR-27 (Fwd), which is made up of about 2,000 Marines and sailors, assumed the combat service support role and took charge of all logistical operations normally run by an entire logistics group, which is typically composed of about 4,000 Marines and sailors. Lt. Col. Eric Davis, the commanding officer of CLB-46, took over for Col. Vincent A. Coglianese, the commanding officer of CLR-27 (Fwd). Coglianese addressed all guests who attended the ceremony, which included Maj. Gen. R. T. Tryon, the Multi National Force - West commanding general, Maj. Gen. John E. Wissler, the MNF-W deputy commanding general, and the Marines and sailors of both logistics units.  During his speech, he emphasized the significance of the transfer of authority from group to regiment and now the reduction to a battalion. “Since 2004, we have had MLG-size elements providing all six functions of combat service support to Multi National Force - West units,” Coglianese said.  “This past September the departure of Brig. Gen. Juan G. Ayala and the casing of the 2d Marine Logistics Group (Forward) colors marked another significant reduction for the Marine Corps.  It was the first time in the short history of OIF that a regiment assumed that critical combat service support role. Combat Logistics Regiment 27 (Forward) took the reins and was able to maintain a great reputation of support.” Now, next to step up to the plate and potentially follow in the regiment’s footsteps is CLB-46. “Today, we are here to mark another historical milestone - a battalion will assume the LCE role,” he said.  As the logistics combat element, CLB-46 will be a direct liaison to MNF-W and will now head a broader scope of logistical services and responsibilities. So far, CLB-46 has conducted more than 800 outside-the-wire missions and traveled more than 450,000 miles to provide combat logistics support throughout Iraq’s Al Anbar province.  The unit’s earlier success has set the bar high for how they will finish out the Marine Corps logistics mission in Iraq. “Whether it’s through combat logistics patrols, route clearance missions or drawdown operations, the Marines and sailors of CLB-46 have made it happen. I’ve been able to visit them at their respective companies and it’s obvious that this team is not only capable of writing the final chapter, but they will ensure it gets done right,” added Coglianese. The Marines of CLB-46 are eager to take on this role and hopefully gain the reputation that will come along with it. “It’s exciting to be here at the end and to be the last Marines in Iraq,” said Davis.  “I feel that for a CLB to be given the opportunity to serve as the LCE validates the Marine Corps’ total force concept.  I hope that based on our performance, the reserves will be considered for future combat logistics regiments.” For the remainder of their deployment, CLB-46 will be providing a full range of combat logistics support, to include transportation, engineering services, and medical capabilities. “We will focus mainly on maintenance for the vehicles and equipment as we support the responsible drawdown,” Davis said.  “Our end goal is to finish strong. “ Coglianese had the same expectation for the battalion. “I look forward to hearing about the great accomplishments you will continue to achieve as you close out the last phase of the Marine Corps’ contributions to Operation Iraqi Freedom,” he said.  “Remember, there are hundreds of Marines and Sailors, to include each of their families, who have endured life-altering sacrifices and are counting on you for a strong finish.”