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Marines roll in with thunder

Aug. 11, 2005; Submitted on: 08/11/2005 10:44:29 AM ; Story ID#: 2005811104429

By Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Redding MCB Camp Pendleton

MCB Camp Pendleton, California, USA, 11 August 2005 — More than 200 Marines with Combat Logistics Company 119, Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 1st Force Service Support Group, spent the week enduring constant, extreme temperatures while conducting convoy operations training July 24-29 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.

The exercises were the last evolution in the unit’s training before deploying once more in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The deployment is expected to occur in the next month.

“The overall aim of the training exercise is to make sure all the Marines are qualified over there in Iraq,” said Staff Sgt. Sydney Morrison, platoon sergeant, 3rd platoon, CLC - 119, not just to handle the high temperatures, but more importantly, a crew-served weapon as well.

“In case they get hit by an improvised explosive device or an enemy ambush, they can suppress them [the enemy, if they are properly qualified],” he said.

In light of what the unit has learned during its last deployments, “we’ve geared our training on how to supply the Marines best over there,” said 1st Lt. Mark Minella, platoon commander, 2nd platoon, CLC - 119.

“The unit’s first two tours were kind of trial and error,” Minella said, adding the majority of the unit’s Marines have all endured two tours.

“For the most part, training has change [based] on how we’re operating right now in Iraq,” he said.

“Prior to the Marines going over in 2003, a lot of this type of training was conducted. We didn’t really know what the enemy was going to be like over there,” said Minella.

Morrison, 29, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., agreed.

“The Marines have learned to identify the good from the bad,” he said, adding that the enemy’s skills have improved, while their tactics have become more advanced.

In addition to the training, the time spent in Yuma proved to be good for an additional purpose.

The amount of experience in the senior lance corporals and corporals allowed for the newer Marines to learn the lessons the veterans of Iraq could pass on, Minella said.

“A lot of the noncommissioned officers are stepping up,” he said.

“Now they have the opportunity to really stand out and shine, because they have that experience, and they aren’t afraid to speak up.”

“For those that haven’t been over there, it’s a new experience,” he added. “They look up to the veterans that have been there for advice.”

As the unit prepares for it’s third deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, it’s overall mission remains the same, Morrison said.

As goes the old adage, “Beans, bullets and band-aids,” the unit’s goal is to keep Marines in Iraq as best supplied as possible.

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