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U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas Bouvia, a heavy equipment operator with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, builds a berm for security in Djibouti, Apr. 9, 2016. The 13th MEU is conducting sustainment training to maintain proficiency and combat readiness while deployed with the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group during Western Pacific Deployment 16-1.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Alvin Pujols

Any clime and place: Fighting 13th feels heat in Djibouti

25 Apr 2016 | Lance Cpl. Alvin Pujols The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

It’s 100-degree weather. Landing Craft Air Cushions have just landed on a rocky beach that has been dubbed “Gunsmoke Djibouti.” Now that the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit has arrived in Djibouti, it must build up flat rocky soil into an encampment. On April 9, 2016, U.S. Marines and sailors with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit began sustainment training during Western Pacific Deployment 16-1. 

The logistics combat element attached to the 13th MEU, Combat Logistics Battalion 13, quickly went to work to establish a secure perimeter, build the encampment, and maintain Gunsmoke Djibouti.

“We started with flat, rocky land,” said 1st Lt Hugh McShane, a logistics officer with the 13th MEU. “But with the help of more than 200 Marines and Sailors, we were able to set security and build a command operations center before the first day was out.”

After day one on Gunsmoke Djibouti, heavy machinery arrived to speed up the fortification process. Marines built 10-12 foot berms around the camp and surrounded it with concerntina wire.

“My section worked a total of 72 hours to build the berms around the encampment,” said Cpl. Joshua Lobue, a heavy equipment operator with the 13th MEU. “We were able to move enough dirt to build a roughly half-mile berm, 10-12 feet high around the encampment.”

With the encampment built up, the Marines and Sailors are ready to conduct follow-on training.

“If we were cut-off from the world right now, we can be self-sustained for more than a week,” said McShane. The 13th MEU is set to continue sustainment training in Djibouti with various ranges to maintain combat readiness and combat effectiveness during Western Pacific Deployment 16-1.

As a MEU, the Marines and Sailors at Gunsmoke Djibouti can sustain themselves autonomously for up to 15 days. This independent sustainability makes them a force multiplier in every clime and place. Wherever the Marines and Sailors of the 13th MEU go, they will be set and ready to train and will bring air, ground, and logistics capabilities.

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