Photo Information

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Aug. 27, 2014) – Sailors with Beachmaster Unit 2, Naval Beach Group Two, guide Sgt. William Anderson, a motor transportation operator with Transport Support, Combat Logistics Battalion 26 onto an Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) during a loading exercise (LOADEX) aboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Aug. 27. The LOADEX was designed to simulate a Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) mission, in order to train the Marines and Sailors what they need to accomplish during an actual DSCA mission and identify and rectify any shortfalls before the event of a real-world mission. A DSCA mission would occur if a federal agency, on behalf of local civil authorities, made a request to the Department of Defense to fill specific gaps in their abilities to respond to a natural or man-made disaster. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Scott McAdam/Released)

Photo by Staff Sergeant Scott McAdam

Marines ready for disaster at moment's notice

29 Aug 2014 | Cpl. Andy Orozco The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

NORFOLK, Va. - Approximately 185 Marines with 2nd Marine Logistics Group assigned to the Defense Support of Civil Authorities, or DSCA, worked with sailors from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command to conduct loading exercises in order to maintain DSCA mission readiness and to strengthen the Navy-Marine Corps relationship Aug. 26-29.
Over the past few years, disasters have proven to be unpredictable. The Marine Corps has provided support following several natural disasters, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The Marines assigned to DSCA must be ready to respond to any disaster on the East Coast within 96 hours.

“If any kind of disaster happens, obviously it's time critical,” said Sgt. Buck Ems, a landing support specialist with Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 2nd MLG, and native of St. Petersburg, Florida. “Things happen fast—a hurricane can wipe a town out or a dam can break. People’s lives can be on the line, so they need us there to assist.”

Marines provide a wide variety of capabilities. When requested, the logistics group can provide a broad skill set that includes, but is not limited to: Vertical lift, medical aid, water purification and storage, power generation, motor transportation, and communication.

During the exercise, Marines and sailors loaded vehicles and equipment onto an Improved Navy Lighterage System and delivered it to the USS Whidbey Island and unloaded the gear onto the ship. They then reversed the process, taking everything back to shore. They completed the exercise in approximately 72 hours.

“When responding to a disaster, our time hack is 96 hours, but we like to do it within 72 hours and, if possible, 48 hours,” said Sgt. Peter Vandyken, a landing support specialist with CLB-26. “If anything happens, Marines are trained to be ready at all times. We are ready whenever the fight is ready.”

Although the primary reason for the exercise to ensure mission readiness, a secondary result was a strengthened relationship between the Marines and sailors.

“The Marine Corps’ relationship with the Navy is important because they are a vital asset in supporting the Marine Corps and facilitating any mission that arises,” said Vandyken. “That’s what the importance of this exercise is; it’s to create that Navy-Marine Corps relationship earlier rather than later. We need to be one unit, one family, one fight.”

Marines with 2nd MLG remain in a stand-by status, ready for potential DSCA missions, until Nov. 30, 2014.

“Marines take a great pleasure in showing off their capabilities and providing assistance and support to those in need,” said Col. Gary F. Keim, commanding officer of Headquarters Regiment, 2nd MLG. “No one does humanitarian assistance better than 2nd MLG.”