CAMP MUJUK, South Korea --
U.S. Marines with 3rd Landing Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, will execute Combined Distribution Exercise near Pohang, South Korea from June 12 to June 16, 2023. CDEX is a combined and joint event in Korea normally executed by forces from 8th Army, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, the Republic of Korea Navy, and the ROK Army. Due to a relief in place with 8th Army’s rotational forces, 3rd LSB was tasked to participate as the execution arm of the Distribution Hub Operations Center.
3rd LSB conducts general support transportation operations throughout the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility in order to deploy and sustain the III Marine Expeditionary Force.
CDEX demonstrates the joint force’s commitment to the defense of the ROK. Further, 3rd LSB will rehearse their mission essential tasks and improve interoperability with allies and partners for integrated throughput and distribution operations. During the exercise, 3rd LSB will provide a variety of fuel, water, ground and air transportation.
For Major William Griffin, the officer-in-charge for CDEX and 3rd Landing Support Battalion, Motor Transport Company Commander, this exercise is a great opportunity to work with other branches and our allies.
“The Marines will always deliver good communications with our ROK counterparts...and having good interservice communication with the Army will help enable success in this operation.” 1st Lt. Davis Pogosian, officer-in-charge for the Helicopter Support Team and Beach Operations Group
“[CDEX] provides us with an opportunity to share an understanding of our capabilities in a joint and combined environment,” stated Griffin. “Alongside the Army and the ROK military, we will understand their capabilities and they will understand ours.”
The exercise will consist of onloading and offloading drills of high-mobility, multipurpose wheeled vehicles and other gear onto ROK Navy landing ships, fuel resupply operations, water production, air deliveries, aerial medical evacuation drills and helicopter support team operations. These are expeditionary logistics capabilities that can be employed world-wide during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations, contingencies, or crisis response.
Sergeant Emiliano Hernandez, a light pack chief, jump master and lead rigger with 3rd LSB, is excited for this opportunity and he thinks this exercise will help strengthen their capabilities as an air delivery unit.
“One thing that my section is doing is conducting site surveys of drop zones to be able to use during KMEP [Korean Marine Exercise Program],” said Hernandez. “This will give us a wider range of what we can do, so we are able to drop more supplies during this exercise and in the future.”
During CDEX, 3rd LSB will serve as the Marine Corps element of the logistics team, demonstrating key logistic functions in conjunction with the Army and ROK forces. Executing events from a combined combat operations center, these units will negotiate tasks side-by-side throughout the exercise.
1st Lt. Davis Pogosian, officer-in-charge for the Helicopter Support Team and Beach Operations Group, believes this exercise will prove successful.
“The Marines have a huge role to play in this exercise,” said Pogosian. “The Marines will always deliver good communications with our ROK counterparts...and having good interservice communication with the Army will help enable success in this operation.”
In Force Design 2030, Commandant of the Marine Corps General David Berger declared that logistics is the pacing function. As it becomes a contested capability, the Marine Corps trains in distribution operations to enable any fight anywhere.
“To persist inside an adversary’s weapons engagement zone, our Stand-in Forces must be set and sustained by logistics capabilities designed for distributed operations over long distances in a contested environment,” said Berger.
During CDEX, 3rd LSB will refine its capabilities to achieve this strategic goal. Operating with the ROK forces, the Air Force, the Navy, and the Army as one team will firm up the force's ability to support major movements from ship-to-shore and air-to-land.
Pogosian shared how this exercise is a prime example of the Commandant’s vision for the Corps.
“The way that this exercise supports Force Design 2030 is by demonstrating how the Marine Corps will use logistics within the Korean theater of operations as well as the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility,” stated Pogosian. “In case any threat arises, this will be our proof of concept that we can support our forces operating in the Indo-Pacific.”