View Full Version : CLB-2 Marines clear path to safety

12-10-05, 06:10 AM
CLB-2 Marines clear path to safety
2nd Marine Logistics Group
Story by Lance Cpl. Joel Abshier

AL ASAD, Iraq (Dec. 9, 2005) -- Many service members in Iraq have stories to explain their proudest moments.
For Chief Warrant Officer 4 Alan J. Clyne, commanding officer of maintenance detachment, and Master Sgt. Scott E. Witmer, maintenance detachment operations chief, both with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), their moment was one to remember.

Clyne and Witmer were providing support for the successful Operation Steel Curtain in cities along the Syrian border at Camp Gannon Nov. 5. They ensured the Marines from 3rd Marine Division, 6th Marine Regiment, were provided with supplies to sustain the fight; ranging from ammunition to chow. But their most appreciated delivery was also the most unexpected.

“We got a call from the 3/6 operations chief saying there were some Marines unable to get out of the city,” Witmer said. “We were told there was no way for humvee’s to reach the Marines.”

The infantry Marines were unfortunately pinned down in an area commonly known to service members at Camp Gannon as “IED Alley.” IED’s, or improvised explosive devices, are the most frequently used weapon against coalition forces here. The name is given to this area because of the abundance of debris, barriers and litter there, making it virtually impassable for most ground vehicles and extremely dangerous for those who do travel the route.

After reviewing a map with the location of the Marines, Witmer and Clyne responded with no hesitation and created a makeshift plan to reach the pinned down squad.

“The idea was to clear a path through IED alley using a bulldozer,” Witmer said. “However, neither of us knew how to operate one.”

Running out of time, Clyne situated himself in the driver’s seat of a mammoth, armored D9 bulldozer and forced himself to learn the controls quickly.

“The big thing was to maintain momentum,” Clyne said. “When you are in a tight situation, sometimes plans go out the window.”

As Clyne hastily maneuvered the foreign controls in the vehicle, Witmer boldly walked in front of the colossus vehicle and guided Clyne to each area that needed clearing.

“[Witmer] was crazy,” Clyne said laughing. “Rounds were flying all over the place and he just kept on going.”

The two steadily plowed through everything standing between them and the trapped Marines, including a number of towering barriers that would have stopped most vehicles in their tracks.
With a newly refined path through the sea of debris, humvee’s with 3/6 were able to reach the surrounded squad to provide heavy fire support, allowing all the Marines to return safely to Camp Gannon.

“I hate to say it but it was a lot of fun,” Clyne admits. “It made us feel that we were part of the fight.”

In the end, Clyne and Witmer took a map, a bulldozer and a little courage and responded selflessly to assist their brothers-in-arms when they were needed most.

“We just drove a D9,” Clyne said with a modest smile. “I just hope nobody finds out I don’t have a license to operate a bulldozer.”