US, ROK forces off-load equipment on peninsula
Dogu Beach, Republic of Korea -- The U.S. Marines have worked tirelessly for 237 years to be prepared to meet the current and future needs of the U.S., from providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief, to participating in contingency operations.
Maintaining a force that is both able to respond at a moment’s notice and sustain contingency operations as long as necessary requires planning, preparation and training.
U.S. Marines with III Marine Expeditionary Force worked to maintain and expand their capabilities as a force in readiness during biennial maritime prepositioning force exercise Combined Joint Logistics Over The Shore 2013 April 19-28 at Dogu Beach near Pohang, Republic of Korea.
“MPFs project combat power and capability across a global spectrum,” said Maj. David I. Eickenhorst, the officer in charge of the III MEF detachment for CJLOTS 13. “CJLOTS is a very dynamic exercise; it shows commitment, capability and force projection and combines that with an expeditionary aspect, showing we can go anywhere on the globe and establish ourselves as a force in readiness.”
CJLOTS 13, the largest MPF exercise since 1993, was conducted jointly and bilaterally by the ROK Marine Corps and Navy, III MEF, U.S. Navy Expeditionary Strike Group 3, Army forces with U.S. Forces Korea and U.S. Coast Guard Port Unit 313. MPF ships carry vehicles, equipment and supplies necessary to generate and sustain force readiness and expeditionary capabilities.
The U.S. Marines, in conjunction with the U.S. Army and Navy, off-loaded selected cargo from the USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo, including M1A1 Abrams tanks, light armored vehicles, assault amphibious vehicles and various other U.S. Marine vehicles and equipment. The Bobo, a container and roll-on/roll-off ship, is part of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command’s MPF program.
The wide variety of vehicles and equipment that were off-loaded, as well as the need to maintain the Marine command and control infrastructure and working sites, required the diverse group of operational capabilities represented on the exercise.
“We have a wide variety of skill sets out here to enable us to be successful, and a lot of them are in the service and support (military occupational specialties),” said Eickenhorst. “The diversity of the Marines out here is allowing us to accomplish the throughput we need and establish a high level of readiness during the exercise.”
Tracking each piece of off-loaded equipment and ensuring it was routed to the correct destination was one of the focuses of the exercise.
“It is a very supply-centric training evolution, with the focus on tracking and accountability,” said Eickenhorst. “There are a lot of computer-aided processes that help us track the gear along with the (landing force support party) Marines that support the operation and the mechanics of making it happen.”
The landing support specialists of the LFSP safely and efficiently routed the vehicles and equipment to their respective staging areas while maintaining full accountability, according to Gunnery Sgt. Derrick L. Watson, the LFSP staff noncommissioned officer in charge for CJLOTS 13 and maintenance chief with Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF.
Once ashore, equipment, supplies and vehicles were inspected for proper maintenance and readiness and underwent routine and preventative maintenance by a Marine maintenance detachment.
The detachment is capable of maintaining everything from generators to tanks and played a vital role in ensuring the equipment was prepared for use, according to Chief Warrant Officer Jason C. Beck, the maintenance officer in charge for CJLOTS 13.
The ROK Marine Corps and Navy conducted their own MPF off-load at Dogu Beach in conjunction with the U.S. forces’ off-load.
“We are combined with the ROKs in the form of exchanging ideas and learning from one another,” said Eickenhorst. “It shows we are committed to the Republic of Korea and that we are capable of sustaining that commitment with an operation of this scope.”
The success of the off-load phase of the exercise reflected on the work of the Marines and sailors participating.
“It is a huge testament to the Marines and sailors that we have been so successfully able to conduct an exercise of this scope,” said Eickenhorst.