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NEWS | Feb. 3, 2022

3rd Landing Support Battalion Conducts Battalion Field Exercise I

By 1st Lt. Jonathan Coronel 3rd Marine Logistics Group

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines and Sailors with 3rd Landing Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, rehearsed core logistics mission essential tasks and emerging warfighting concepts on training areas throughout Okinawa during Battalion Field Exercise I, January 23-28, 2022.

The exercise began with convoy operations to displace units around Okinawa at Naha Military Port, the Central and Northern Training Areas, and Ie Shima.

At Naha Military Port, elements of 3rd LSB stood up the Landing Force Support Party to conduct port operations and command and control. This LFSP ultimately simulated the offload, staging and throughput of Maritime Prepositioning Force equipment sets via ground vehicle convoys as well as a Landing Craft Utility 2000 surface vessel onload, surface movement, and subsequent offload. Further, throughout the exercise, 3rd LSB’s Bravo Company exercised their ability to balance the conduct of general support motor transport tasking, while simultaneously being distributed across Okinawa conducting long haul convoys, recovery operations, and blackout night driving.

Meanwhile on Ie Shima, 3rd LSB’s Aerial Delivery Platoon supported forward refueling point operations. After reconnaissance Marines from 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion conducted military free-fall jumps onto the island to conduct covert reconnaissance of the airfield, conditions were set for the 3rd LSB aerial delivery Marines to tandem jump in with attached bulk fuel Airmen from the United States Air Force’s 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron as well as bulk fuel Marines from Energy Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 3. Bulk fueling equipment was delivered by the Joint Precision Airdrop System, which uses GPS technology to guide loads to the drop zone.

Once the equipment was recovered and setup, the C-130 aircraft from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 landed and provided fuel to the forward refueling point via air-delivered ground refueling operations. This FRP then serviced both Marine Corps and joint aircraft to include two MH-60s from the United States Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 85, two CH-53s from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, and two UH-1s from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369. Additionally, 3rd LSB conducted multiple air drops of both cargo and personnel to include JPADS, container delivery system, type-v platform with full water bull, door bundles, as well as military free fall, tandem offset resupply system-personnel, and low level static line jumps.

“We conducted an offset insert of equipment, using the 2k JPADS, and subsequent high altitude tandem offset of joint bulk fueler personnel, to create a forward refueling point, explained Nelson. “Bulk fuelers from the USAF 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron and CLR-3’s Energy Company were able to work together to service USMC aircraft as well as Navy aircraft from HSC-85. We were simply more effective together,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Nelson, commanding officer of 3rd LSB.

Simultaneously, 3rd LSB’s engineer support platoon with organic combat engineers, Material Handling Equipment, and attached landing support Marines operated in the Central Training Area where they conducted beach support area preparation activities. Further, the Marines concurrently operated out of Henoko Beach on Camp Schwab, where they created corridors through the forest just off of the beach, inland to an interior road network, explained Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher Russell, platoon commander of Engineer Support Platoon, 3rd LSB.

“With an integrated naval construction team from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, 3rd LSB’s engineers employed the full spectrum of their organic capabilities by constructing a littoral transition point. Concurrently, at Henoko Beach, a squad comprised of combat engineers and heavy equipment operators cleared a 125 by 6 meter corridor through dense jungle in order to connect the beachhead to road infrastructure; this showcases one example of how engineers can rapidly establish mobility within the maritime domain,” said Russell.

Throughout the operation, 3rd LSB’s command post at Naha Military Port continued to provide command and control over the distributed forces, simulating the challenges of conducting low-signature, communications-degraded operations.

“As 3rd MLG realigns its forces, and CLR-3 reorganizes its forces to rapidly support III MEF’s Fight Now mission, and support Force Design 2030 experimentation, 3rd LSB trains to future force employment concepts, deploying our engineers in support of landing support missions,” explained Maj. Corydon Cusack, 3rd LSB’s operations officer. “We were able to employ our Landing Support and Engineers together, to create throughput nodes within a simulated weapons engagement zone. In an EABO environment, a suitable beach may not always be connected to a road network; our team can support the amphibious landings and blaze a corridor through the jungle to maintain the momentum,” said Cusack.

3rd MLG, based out of Okinawa, Japan, is a forward-deployed combat unit that serves as III Marine Expeditionary Force’s comprehensive logistics and combat service support backbone for operations throughout the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility.

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