3rd Maintenance Battalion completes exercise at Kin Blue

3rd Maintenance Battalion completes exercise at Kin Blue

by Lance Cpl. Pete Sanders
Okinawa Marine Staff

KIN BLUE, Okinawa - Members of 3rd Maintenance Battalion participated in Maintenance Exercise 14-1 Jan. 27 to Feb. 1 at the Kin Blue Training Area near Camp Hansen.

During the exercise, the Marines conducted recovery operations, rear-area security and base defense operations, and various maintenance tasks in preparation for future missions.

The exercise aimed to give the Marines an opportunity to polish their skills in a field environment to better support future missions, according to Cpl. Lucas J. Morales, the mechanical section head for 3rd Maintenance Bn., Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

“We go out there to support other units, which means if we’re going to maximize the upcoming (missions), we need to have our primary jobs down,” said Morales.

On paper, maintenance battalions do not typically perform many of the logistics-related tasks covered in the exercise, according to Maj. Keith G. Nunn, the 3rd Maintenance Bn. commanding officer.

Due to the volume of exercises in the area, 3rd Maintenance Bn. is part of a rotation with logistics units (including Supply Battalion, 9th Engineer Support Battalion and Combat Logistics Regiment 3, all with 3rd MLG) to help make the exercise requirements more manageable.

“Typically, our job as a maintenance battalion is to recover damaged assets,” said Nunn. “During deployments, those assets are most likely damaged due to events such as an (improvised explosive device). We’ll bring those assets to the smaller units by disassembling them for repair and reissue, if possible.”

One reason logistics Marines must stay effective and efficient at their jobs is to ensure every Marine stays as safe as possible, according to Morales. Because they are out in the field they have to take additional safety precautions.

3rd Maintenance Bn. will serve in a logistics capacity in upcoming exercises which will require the Marines to perform several tasks that are different than their usual roles including organizing maintenance workers, transporting them appropriately, addressing first aid and sanitary needs, according to Morales.

Job proficiency is also a fundamental aspect of maintaining team organization, according to Nunn.

“I believe in skills, will and teamwork,” said Nunn. “If we have the skills to complete our Marine Corps tasks according to our training and readiness standards, then we’ll have the confidence, or will, to continue to do it better. That will help build confidence as a team, increasing unit cohesion and effectiveness.”

The field exercise has helped more than just the Marine units involved; the medical staff has reaped benefits as well.

“This (operation) has been a great opportunity for me,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Alex Acosta, an independent corpsman with 3rd Medical Bn., 3rd MLG, III MEF. “This has been a great leadership opportunity. I’m running my own battalion aid station, and my own corpsmen. I love the personal growth (this training has provided).”

After all the training was completed, the Marines left the exercise more confident in their abilities, signifying mission success, according to Nunn.

“I think everybody here did great,” said Nunn. “We accomplished every objective. We gave them missions, and tried to surprise them with realistic scenarios. (The exercise) gave them the opportunity to perform their own command and control; do their own planning. I’m very proud of each and every Marine out here.”

Please visit www.youtube.com/3MEFcpao for video coverage of the event.

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