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Marines perform Cherry-picker drills with a UH-1Y Huey helicopter during a Combat Logistics Patrol in the Combat Center’s Lava Lake training area Nov. 15, 2013.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Charles Santamaria

CLB -7 navigates training corridor for logistics platoon exercise

15 Nov 2013 | Lance Cpl. Charles J. Santamaria

The ground shook as a convoy of Humvees, 7-ton trucks, and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles trekked up a passage in the Combat Center’s Lava Lake Training Area.

The vehicles lined the route while helicopters flew overhead providing air support. A combat logistics platoon navigated the terrain, stopping at designated areas to fire on mountainside targets. The Marines progressed through the Lava Lake Corridor simulating combat scenarios during the unit’s participation in Integrated Training Exercise 1-14.

Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 7 performed a Combat Logistics Patrol, Nov. 15, 2013 to prepare Marines for situations that may occur when traveling between checkpoints in a hostile area, such as enemy engagements, ambushes, and casualty evacuations.

The Combat Center’s Lava Lake Training Area allowed the convoy to react to various scenarios, from different perspectives, which provided effective training for Marines on the ground.

“The Lava Corridor on the Combat Center allowed for 360 degree live-fire training,” said 1st Lt. David Heuwetter, platoon commander, Engineer Support Company, CLB-7. “It gave the Marines on the convoy a realistic experience of the angles of fire that they could expect on terrain like this.”

The unit conducted drills to prepare for casualty evacuations, landing zone preparation, vehicle dismount, convoy maneuvers and suppressive fire. CLB-7 participated in smaller training events, which culminated during this simulated convoy with enemy aggression and casualties.

“This is a culmination of all the maneuver-element events,” Heuwetter said. “It was great to see all the training come together for this.”

The exercise also gave small-unit leaders the opportunity to implement critical decision-making skills with their troops.

“You have to keep your head on a swivel,” said Cpl. Edgar Arreguin, fire team leader, Engineer Support Co., CLB-7. “I have to make sure that no matter what the convoy may encounter, myself and the junior Marines under me know what they’re doing and are ready for me to relay information.”

Key points in the exercise will require guidance from the leaders in order to navigate the terrain and handle obstacles in the training area.

“There’s going to be a lot of decision points in this exercise. It will require the quick-thinking of my non-commissioned officers and vehicle commanders to successfully navigate the constricted terrain of the corridor, which is good training for what we’re preparing for,” Heuwetter said.

ITX 1-14 was completed Friday. CLB-7 is scheduled to deploy early next year as the Logistics Combat Element in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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