MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 1st Marine Logistics Group, and supporting units recently participated in a LOADEX (Load Exercise), taking place at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and San Diego, California, June 22 - 24, 2015. The exercise consisted of a training operation designed to give the Marines hands-on experience on and off-loading equipment and supplies from a ship.
“[LOADEX] was basically an opportunity for the Marines to get out and go through the motions of loading a ship,” said 1st Lt. Caitlin Larson, landing support platoon commander with CLB-11. “[The scenario was based] on an atmosphere of catastrophe in the state of California and we had to support civilian agencies and displaced persons.”
The Marines partnered with the sailors with Assault Craft Unit 5 and began the loading process in San Diego. The Marines and sailors worked together to load the ship and prepare it for a movement up the coast. They loaded vehicles and containers onboard the ship.
“We take the resources that we need to assist, load it onto a ship, in this case the USS Boxer, where it will push out and allocate those supplies to assist whatever civilians need help,” said Larson.
In a scenario such as the one simulated here, the Marines and sailors practiced delivering all the necessary supplies that civilians would need, such as food, water bottles or water purification systems, according to Larson.
“It was a joint effort with the Navy so there were all the personnel from the USS Boxer and their combat cargo that we were working with,” said Larson, a native of Holtville, California. “We also had the Marines from CLB-11, motor transportation, landing support, heavy equipment, as well as other units all playing a part in this.”
Once near Camp Pendleton, LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushion) were used to bring the supplies from the ship to Red Beach on base.
There may not always be a pier or port available for the ship to dock at, added Larson. Using LCACs, the Marines were able to skip that step and deliver the equipment directly to the beach where it was off-loaded.
CLB-11 will soon be deploying with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and are preparing for the possibility of operations like this.
“Going through the motions of loading those containers and getting them to and from the staging lot and into the ship is very important for them to go through because they’re going to do the same thing when we get ready to deploy on our MEU,” said Larson.
After several on-loads and off-loads, the Marines’ proved their efficiency through their performance during the operation.
“I believe the Marines performed very well,” said Larson. “All the off-loading and on-loading went smoothly and the result was a quality product.”
The Marines and sailors of CLB-11 conduct regular LOADEX training to keep their abilities sharp and maintain the readiness needed to make sure their upcoming deployment is a successful one.