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Marines and sailors from 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment load their gear onto a 7-ton truck at Range 215 at the Combat Center before hitching a ride with 1st Platoon, Transport and Support Company with Combat Logistics Battalion 8, during a combined armed exercise March 17.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Monica C. Erickson

CLB-8 supports ‘Geronimo’ during Mojave Viper

17 Mar 2009 | Lance Cpl. Monica C. Erickson

Marines and sailors from Marine Combat Logistics Battalion 8, stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejuene, N.C., conducted a combined arms exercise movement to resupply and transport Marines and sailors of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The CAX was part of Mojave Viper, a month-long pre-deployment training program that most units must complete before deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan. This specific mission was important to CLB-8 since they will be deploying to Afghanistan with 1/5.

“Doing this training now will help us understand how each other work while we’re in Afghanistan,” said 2nd Lt. Bentwan Taylor, the 1st Platoon commander of Transport and Support Company with CLB-8. “This type of training is important for us since we will have the same mission in Afghanistan.”

The day began at 4:30 a.m. when Marines and sailors from the 1st Platoon, Transport and Support Company with CLB-8, returned to Camp Wilson after completing an overnight training operation. Instead of getting some shut-eye, they grabbed breakfast and reloaded their vehicles for the upcoming convoy mission.

Taylor briefed the Marines and sailors on what to expect during the convoy and the route they would take.

“This is a two-part movement operation,” said Taylor, a Dublin, Ga., native. “We will be moving from Camp Wilson to Range 215, then 215 to Lead Mountain.”

As the convoy rolled out, the Marines and sailors of 1st Platoon fell into a watchful silence as if they were already in Afghanistan.

The first part of their mission went by without a hitch as 1st Platoon met up with 1/5 and began loading their gear and personnel in their extra vehicles. Within ten minutes, everybody was in place and ready to move on to Lead Mountain.

“These logistical runs and linking up with other units is a very important aspect of our training,” said Sgt. Rodney Williams, the 1st Squad leader for 1st Platoon. “It is necessary for us to train like this so we can become timely and efficient at moving troops in Afghanistan.”

Always on the lookout, Marines manning the turrets reported various areas and items on the side of the road that could contain possible improvised explosive devices. Marines from 1/5 also pitched in, manning turrets and keeping their eyes on the side of the road, reporting anything suspicious.

“Training like this is great when you get a bunch of Marines who come together from different units,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Wilder, the platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon. “This is what you need to bring them together and have them working together without a hitch.”

As 1st Platoon reached Lead Mountain, 1/5 quickly unloaded their gear and entered their makeshift home for the next three days, while CLB-8 began their long journey back to Camp Wilson, knowing their deployment to Afghanistan will be easier due to their new relationship with 1/5.

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