KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 4, 4th Marine Logistics Group participated alongside I Marine Expeditionary Force in an exercise in Kansas City, Missouri, Feb. 20-22, 2015.
CLR-4 conducted the exercise with I MEF, making it the first time in 10 years that I MEF has done an expeditionary force-level exercise due to exercises focusing on preparing for deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Our guidance from Marine Forces Reserve commander, our vision and strategy, and all of the messages we’ve received has told us that the Marine Corps is changing,” said Maj. John L. Gallagher, the operations officer with CLR-4, 4th MLG. “Our focus is on being expeditionary, interoperable, and our mission essential tasks, which is the ability to command and control.”
During the exercise, CLR-4 provided logistical support, tracked supplies, unit locations, movements, and provided aid to I MEF. CLR-4 also conducted a Logistics Operation Center Exercise with its battalions, Combat Logistics Battalion 23 in Fort Lewis, Washington, and CLB-453 in Aurora, Colorado, setting up communications with each battalion to interact and relay information from the regiment to I MEF in Camp Pendleton, California.
“We’re creating and simulating a tactical environment as much as we can within the narrow scope of a drill weekend,” said Gallagher.
CLR-4 worked with I MEF to conduct operations at a force level with the active component and simulated a field environment by building a Tactical Logistics Operations Center. The TLOC was set up as a tent that contained a command and control center with a section for communications and was protected by a guard force for security. The guard force also conducted helicopter and casualty evacuation drills.
“When we deploy, it won’t be just as a reserve component,” said Capt. Andrew S. Cole, an assistant communications officer with CLR-4, 4th MLG. “We will integrate with active-duty Marines, so the more we can have that interaction in training and in peacetime, that will make it a lot easier to do our job when we have to go downrange.”
The exercise also introduced the use of a new Reserve Component Unclassified Network, a program that tracks the locations and movements of troops and equipment.
“The RCUN is basically our own training network between different Reserve units,” said Staff Sgt. Derek Holthaus, the data chief with CLR-4, 4th MLG. “It also allows commanders to keep a visual representation of where the different units are out in the field and enables us to communicate.”
The training exercise tested the Reserve component’s skills to show how well they could perform if they were called upon to do these operations in a deployable environment. Exercises like these are important to increase interoperability between the active and
Reserve components which is vital to the Marine Corps mission and overall success, said Holthaus.
Providing Reserve Marines with realistic training in a field environment and opportunities to conduct operations with the active component benefits the Corps by maintaining a ready and relevant force with interoperable capabilities.