Sunday, December 14, 2008

Motor-T takes action, delivers in Afghanistan

Story by Lance Cpl. Lance Cpl. Ronald W. Stauffer

DELARAM, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Second Platoon, Motor Transportation Company, successfully conducted its first tactical supply convoy to forward operating base Delaram, returning safely to Camp Barber Dec. 12.

The platoon, part of Combat Logistics Battalion 3, the logistics combat element of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan, traveled 52 miles of black top to the FOB. The convoy transported fuel bladders, fuel pumps, refrigerator units, medical supplies and various provisions used by the Marines there to conduct counterinsurgency operations, and train and mentor the Afghan National Police.

“We’re here to show we are a combat logistics battalion, and we support those who are out there doing the fighting,” said 2nd Lt. Juliann C. Naughton, 2nd Platoon commander.

During security stops, the convoy encountered two incidents where they used escalation of force, but no one was injured in the events.

“We had an impatient (Afghan) driver who didn’t see what the military was doing,” said Staff Sgt. Chris O. Ross, platoon sergeant.

During that first incident, the rear gunner of a Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle fired a pen flare toward the vehicle that was advancing on the Marine convoy. When the van showed no signs of stopping, Ross fired one warning shot with a tracer round, enough to halt the vehicle.

Safety is a must at all times, Ross explained. However, safety must be balanced with moving loads of supplies through combat zones. He said the supply loads come first and foremost, and the fighting comes second.

“We responded appropriately, especially with Marines on the ground with a vehicle coming at them,” Naughton said. “We’re not here to cause harm. We’re here to deliver, but if someone gets in our way we will move them.”
In the convoy’s second escalation of force, a pen flare was also successfully used to warn other drivers not to travel around the convoy as well.

“The Marines made the adjustment calls that they should have and did an outstanding job,” Ross said. “It’s good to see them going through the steps they were taught.”

Once they unloaded and separated the supplies, the Marines loaded a disabled HMMWV back on the logistics train of vehicles and were back on the road again.

During the return home, the convoy halted at a location where earlier that morning they were curiously observed by local Afghans.
Naughton said the convoy’s sweep team had concerns with the location and the fact that people observed the first sweep and that there is no room for error or assuming the location is still safe after the first sweep.

“Everyone is getting the lay of the land,” said Naughton. “I’m proud of our sweep team for getting on the (radio) and sweeping the way they needed to.

Upon return to Camp Barber, the trucks were cleaned and prepared for their next mission.

“I think my Marines did an awesome job, and they set the tempo with this mission,” Ross said. “Supplies and getting them to the Marines are very important for us.”

Naughton said she was impressed with the platoon’s unit leadership through the ranks and the Marines’ dedication to deliver everything that was requested and accomplish the mission in the time they were given.

“I’m looking forward to seeing where my Marines go from here,” she said. “It started well and can only get better.”

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