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thedrifter
02-13-09, 08:10 AM
Heavy Equipment Platoon handles their haul with ease

2/11/2009 By Cpl. Bobbie A. Curtis , 2nd MLG Headquarters and Service Battalion (FWD)

CAMP RAMADI, Iraq —
One of the key goals of the war in Iraq is returning full control of the country to a better-prepared Iraqi government. A key component of these efforts is de-militarization, or dismantling the extensive Coalition military infrastructure that has grown over the past six years.

At the forefront of the de-militarization effort in the Ar Ramadi area in the Al Anbar province are the Marines of Heavy Equipment Platoon, Combat Logistics Company 51, Combat Logistics Battalion 5.

The platoon has played a tremendous role in providing support during the de-militarization of a large number of U.S. military installations, entry control points, and forward operating bases.

According to 1st Lt. Bryon D. Almeda, platoon commander, Operations Platoon, CLC-51, the company has moved approximately 5,000 barriers, 2,000 containers and more than 2,000 other pieces of equipment. Working for the past six months with only six Marines, Heavy Equpment platoon has almost single-handedly been responsible for moving this substantial amount of equipment.

“It’s not common to have the little amount of operators we have,” said Sgt. Raymond Reyes, platoon sergeant of Heavy Equipment Platoon, who is on his second deployment to Iraq. “It’s so hard to imagine all the missions we accomplished with the amount of people we have had,” the Galveston, Texas native added.

When the platoon arrived last August they never imagined the amount of work their small section would be tasked with. The Marines added several buildings, organized the lot and added gravel and a wash rack for their equipment.

With only a short time into the deployment, the platoon found themselves swamped with requests for support from a large number of Coalition units in the area, including the Iraqi Security Forces who the Marines assisted by helping construct military installations. The Marines became one of the primary heavy equipment support providers around Camp Ramadi.

“They wouldn’t have been able to do it if it wasn’t for us!” said Pfc. Julio Caballero, a heavy equipment operator.

The Marines of the platoon give a lot of credit for their hard work to the importance of the mission in Iraq and the current state of the country.

“Before I came out here, I didn’t see how important this really was -- the de-mils, trying to give Iraq back to the people,” said Caballero, a Tampa Bay, Fla. native.

He also said that it would have been impossible to complete their missions without help from the company’s Motor Transport section whose drivers, sitting behind the whell of large, heavily armored trucks, provided a medium to relocate all the equipment the platoon has moved.

With their time in Iraq coming to an end, the Marines of CLC-51’s Heavy Equipment Platoon look back in amazement at the work they accomplished over the past six months.

“It was always the same HE unit out there every night, no one expected that,” Reyes explained. “To see it actually happening … it’s breathtaking.”

The Marines’ responsibilities will soon change to training and preparing the oncoming unit, CLB-4, to carry on their mission as they head home for a well-deserved break.

For more information on the ongoing mission in Iraq’s Al Anbar province, visit www.mnfwest.usmc.mil.

Ellie