CBAF Marines head to Cuba
By Lance Cpl. Jonathan Sosner, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Marines visit Cuba, walk in the footsteps of legends
Marines of Special-Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Continuing Promise 2010 walk up the hill where on July 14, 1898, Sgt. John H. Quick and Pvt. John Fitzgerald performed heroic actions that earned them both the Medal of Honor. The 30 Marines had the unique opportunity to visit the Spanish American War battle site, Aug. 5, while the USS Iwo Jima made a port stop at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The USS Iwo Jima is currently underway to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief across Latin America and the Caribbean.
NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA --
The designated CBAF unit is made up of an infantry battalion and attached support units which form a rapid crisis response force, available to be sent anywhere in the world on short notice.
“It provides the nation a company and a battalion of Marines who are ready to respond to anything,” said 1st. Lt. David Kerby, executive officer for Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. “The mission can include humanitarian aid, disaster relief, or a security crisis, anywhere in the world.”
The mission to Cuba was a test to see how well the unit could respond, and what plans might need refining for any future missions.
“When we first get the call, we need to get all of the Marines with their gear, radios and weapons systems together,” Kerby said. “Once we receive more information we can sit down and come up with a specific action plan for when we arrive in that particular country.”
Once everything was planned, the Marines gathered with all of their gear and flew from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, to Guantanamo Bay, where they conducted training over the course of the next four days.
The training included multiple shooting ranges during day and night time, squad sized tactic drills, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear classes, Kerby added.
“It gives the Marines another opportunity to train in a new environment,” said Kerby. “At the same time, it gives the company-level leadership the chance to refine how we plan training and operations.”
The CBAF is a critical aspect to maintaining readiness and making sure that Marines can provide assistance, or bring the fight at any time, to anywhere in the world.