5/16/2012 By Cpl. Mark W. Stroud , 1st Marine Logistics Group (FWD)

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Service members attached to 1st MLG (Fwd) provide tactical logistics support to adjacent units in Regional Command (Southwest) and assist in the Marine Corps’ reset and reconstitution effort. Whether it is engineering operations, maintaining vehicles, supplying units or identifying excess gear, 1st MLG (Fwd) Marines and sailors get the mission accomplished.

One of 1st MLG (Fwd)’s combat logistics battalions currently deployed to RC(SW) ensures Marines and sailors in the northern portion of Helmand Province are equipped with the gear and equipment they need, while removing the gear and equipment they no longer use.

“[Combat Logistics Battalion 4] is serving as the distribution arm of the MLG,” said Lt. Col. Adam L. Chalkley, commanding officer, CLB-4. Inherent in that is the transport of supplies and equipment from outlying [Forward Operating Bases] to [Camp Leatherneck].”

With coalition troops beginning to drawdown in the region, realigning Marine Corps forces is an important step toward meeting the security goals in Afghanistan.

“It has been challenging to balance reposturing our forces with conducting ongoing counterinsurgency operations and the transition to a security advisory role … but the Marine Corps has been incredibly aggressive in meeting … goals for reposturing,” said Chalkley.

On May 1-6, Alpha Company, CLB-4, worked to retrograde equipment and supplies from Patrol Base Habib in CLB-4’s most recent effort to support the realignment of forces.

“The PB Habib mission was to pull out [2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment] assets from the PB in preparation for the withdrawal of [2nd Bn., 5th Marines] from that area,” said Staff Sgt. Charles E. Weatherly, platoon sergeant, 3rd Platoon, Alpha Co., CLB-4. “We also delivered [supplies] to Forward Operating Base Edinburgh and Combat Outpost Shir Ghazay during the [combat logistics patrol].”

Moving forces out of a patrol base or forward operating base is a complicated process that requires a significant amount of coordination, cooperation and planning between the involved units, said Weatherly.

CLB-4 provided the heavy and medium-lift capability to the equation, paving the way for final withdrawal preparations and the departure of 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, said 1st Lt. Margaret S. Adams, executive officer, Alpha Co., CLB-4.
“Our role in this capacity [as the distribution arm] allows the maneuver elements of RCT-6 to continue to focus on counterinsurgency and security operations in cooperation with Afghan National Security Assistant Forces,” said Chalkley.

According to Chalkley, CLB-4 will continue to facilitate the new posture of RCT-6 as 1st MLG (Fwd) and other Marine Corps forces draw down in the coming year.

“All of the units [in the area of operations] are going to have to support each other as we reposture our forces and prepare for the withdrawal of Marines,” said 1st Lt. Benjamin J. Gutek, platoon commander, 3rd Plt., Alpha Co., CLB-4. “We are going to be [demilitarizing] more [bases] as the deployment goes on.”