Photo Information

Water support technicians with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, set up a lightweight water purification system at a training area in the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014. CLB-6 teamed up with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division for the month-long Summer Mountain Warfare Exercise aboard MCMWTC, where they learned survival skills and tactics in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The training package helps to ensure the readiness and relevance of 2nd MLG forces to be employed in support of combatant command requirements.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Preston McDonald

CLB-6 Marines conduct final exercise in mountain warfare (Story Six of Six)

1 Nov 2014 | Lance Cpl. Preston McDonald 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO)

Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, and 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, completed the final portion of the month-long Summer Mountain Exercise, Oct. 21, 2014.

During the six-day final event, Marines with 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, moved into the training areas with the logistical support of CLB-6, to apply their newfound skills in mountain survival against simulated enemies.

The event tested their abilities in rappelling, cliff assaults, gorge crossing, shelter construction, escape and evasion tactics, casualty evacuation, and land navigation.

“The things we learned in the basic mobility section of the exercise definitely helped set us up for the final exercise,” said Lance Cpl. Kenneth Xiloj, an administrative Marine with CLB-6.

CLB-6 Marines set up a command operations center at the base of the mountain and provided logistical support to the troops throughout the duration of the exercise.

“All week, we’ve been transporting the troops in the (7-ton vehicles) and bringing them food,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Draeger, a motor transportation operator with CLB-6, and a New Lenox, Illinois native.

The logistics Marines set up improvised explosive device lane sweeps, water purification centers, tactical convoys, and quick response teams in order to support their infantry counterparts. The coordination between the two units allowed the Marines to experience a more realistic mountain operation.

“I think it’s good that an infantry unit is out here with a logistics unit,” said Sergeant Douglas Smith, a mountain warfare instructor at MCMWTC. “It gives the Marines an idea of what things will be like on deployment.”

Marines with 2/5 spent the first two days setting up security perimeters at the training sites. During the third and fourth day, they scouted possible enemy positions and assessed the threat. Their assessment led them to pursue the enemies in a tactical assault. Using the mountain warfare skills they learned in the training package, the Marines executed a cliff assault on the enemy to eliminate them.

“The Marines conducted a cliff assault on a peak out here that we call Mean Peak,” said Smith, a Syracuse, New York native. “It is the highest point that they train at out here, approximately 11,200 feet above sea level.”

The final exercise helped to solidify the Marines’ understanding that enemy forces aren’t the only danger to assess in a mountainous environment. The elements and grueling terrain offer serious challenges the Marines are now experienced with. Probably the most disliked challenge was the cold.

“It gets down to about 25 degrees here at night,” said Smith.

With the training now complete, both units return to their home stations. The infantry battalion returns to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, while CLB-6 returns to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Completion of the Summer Mountain training package helps to ensure the readiness and relevance of 2nd MLG forces to be employed in support of combatant command requirements. This is the sixth installment of a six-part series on the experiences of CLB-6 at the Mountain Warfare Training Center.