FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Afghanistan -- Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 7 were instrumental in returning more than 302,000 pounds of equipment and supplies as well as the last of the Marines and sailors of Security Force Assistance Advisor Team 4-215 back to Camp Leatherneck from Forward Operating Base Delaram II in Nimroz province, Afghanistan, April 7 and 8.
Combat Logistics Battalion 7 arrived at FOB Delaram II on the morning of April 7 and began loading all the cargo, including generators, shipping containers and heavy equipment, onto their trucks in preparation for their journey back to Camp Leatherneck, the largest military base in southwestern Afghanistan.
Though the mission sounds simple, the layers of planning and execution were a little more in-depth.
“The planning involved multiple units,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Gerdes, a platoon commander with CLB-7, and a Huntingtown, Md., native. “We planned with Combat Engineer Battalion, SFAAT 4-215 and 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. We had to coordinate the load plan, multiple check points along the route, possible enemy hotspots and the control of air assets.”
The preparation of the mission was not the only thing that made CLB-7 ready for their trip. The positive attitude of the Marines kept the mission going, even when challenges came up.
“If the truck breaks down we fix it right there on scene and push,” said Sgt. Bible Tamarat, a radio operator with CLB-7 and Atlanta, Ga., native. “If we can't fix it there, we have the wreckers attached to us. We hook it up to the wrecker and we push to the next site.”
Many of the Marines in CLB-7 are on their first deployment, but their cohesiveness and hard-work ethic make completing any mission a task done with ease.
“We have a new generation of Marines here,” said Tamarat. “My last deployment we had a lot of Marines that were deployed to Iraq and on their second or third deployment. Now it's mostly everyone’s first deployment. The first mission or two they were getting into the groove, and now I feel like everyone's doing what they need to do.”
As the Marines of CLB-7 ensured all the supplies, equipment and team members of SFAAT 4-215 were situated properly in their combat logistics patrol, they showed that even with as large of a task of retrograding an entire FOB, they will always push forward and accomplish the task at hand.
“These Marines are amazing. They work hard and they get the job done,” said Gerdes. “The noncommissioned officers develop creative ideas to tackle problems, and the junior Marines execute with unmatched tenacity. I could not be more proud of these Marines. They are responsible for the successful retrograde of the last coalition forces and materials in the Nimroz province; that's pretty amazing. However, it was a whole battalion effort too, and there are a lot of Marines behind the scenes that make our job easier and make it possible for us to execute. We cannot forget about them. Overall, this mission was a success, and it was a great experience.”