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CLB-7 provides support, supplies for Operation Steel Knight

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 7 are working round the clock to make sure the 1st Tank Battalion and 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion have the supplies they need to complete a pre-deployment exercise here Oct. 17 through 30.

CLB-7 is joining forces with CLB-5, based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Calif., to deliver supplies by convoy to the training battalions partaking in Operation Steel Knight.

Operation Steel Knight is a battalion level training exercise which allows battalions to come together under scenarios similar to those likely to be encountered in theater.

“This is great experience for the new guys working in the desert and Afghanistan,” said Lance Cpl. Salvador Portillo, a Transportation operator for Support Company, CLB-7.

To assist 1st Tanks and 1st LAR with their mission, the Marines of CLB-7 set up a forward operating base to help coordinate the convoy’s objective during the operation. Within the FOB, the logistics Marines plan the routes for the convoys and the supplies they will be carrying.

Marines with the Motor Transport Co. were given details on convoy routes and safety prior to kicking the plans into motion. After loading the necessary supplies onto Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements, the convoys set off into the desert.

“The convoys have to keep a lookout for [notational] IEDs [improvised explosive devises] the closer we get to Oct. 24,” said 1st Lt. Jeremiah Hartley, watch officer for CLB-7, Headquarters and Service Co. Hartley explained as the exercise draws closer to its end date, the battalion can expect higher chances of notional IEDs being added to the mix.

“The convoys have been taught what to do in case of an IED and know that it’s a possibility during the operation,” he said.

The element of surprise may add to the authenticity of the training since the drivers have no indication of any notional IEDs during the training operation.

“We have already been doing this for about a week and it’s been the same thing everyday,” said Lance Cpl. Emery Langley, a motor transportation operator with Support Co., CLB-7. “I hope things change up a little bit.”

As Operation Steel Knight runs its course, CLB-7 will continue to offer support to units expecting to deploy in the near future.

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