Getting supplies to and from forward operating bases can be difficult due to the rugged terrain of Afghanistan and the imminent enemy threat.
However, the Route Clearance Platoon from Joint-Task Force Paladin provided Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) with a clear path during the latest resupply mission to FOB Shukvani, May 10 through 15.
“It’s a combined task force,” said Cpl. Keith R. Breeckner, an operations clerk with CLB-8, 2nd MLG (Fwd.). “The Army’s route clearance team goes out with us to make sure we have a safe route to travel on so we can get the supplies to Marines and soldiers.”
In addition to clearing the route, the Army provided extra trucks and lift capabilities. Soldiers from the 541st Transportation Company, 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion assisted in carrying supplies to and from Camp Leatherneck.
“The Army increased our capability and capacity on this mission,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Douglas, the convoy commander and the Security Platoon commander with CLB-8, 2nd MLG (Fwd.).
With the help of the Army, the Marines successfully delivered potable water, bottled water, fuel and rations to soldiers from the Georgian army and Marines operating in the Shukvani area.
“The main goal was to provide the sustainment they need to continue their combat operations,” explained Douglas. “We also delivered a water purification system and a fuel system.”
After the supplies were dropped off, the Marines and soldiers loaded their trucks with battle-damaged vehicles for a backhaul to Camp Leatherneck.
“Most of the outlying locations lack the capability to conduct the repairs some of these vehicles need,” said Douglas. “We bring them back to Leatherneck to get the repairs done and get the vehicle back in the fight.
“Combat logistics patrols are the only effective way to get these trucks back to Leatherneck,” said Douglas. “All of these vehicles are too heavy to be lifted by air, which would be the only other option.”
Because it’s the only option, mission accomplishment is crucial so the Marines spend days preparing for the mission.
“I think what makes our combat logistics patrols effective is a mixture of detailed planning before, and the proficiency and experience of the Marines during the operation,” said Douglas. “The Marines are extremely experienced when it comes to convoy operations, and they are continuously learning and improving with each one.”
The joint-service team will continue to work together to ensure coalition forces operating in Helmand province remain supplied and operational in order to continue to support the International Security Assistance Force mission.
Article by Sgt. Rachael Moore, 2nd Marine Logistics Group