MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- One of the most important considerations when running any military operation is logistical support.
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Combat Logistics Battalion-26 is responsible for the logistical needs of the MEU and also carries out a series of highly specialized support operations for scenarios such as humanitarian assistance missions, mass casualty evacuations and non-combatant evacuation operations.
In order to efficiently support the land operations of the MEU during Composite Training Unit Exercise, about two-thirds of the CLB was offloaded from the ships of the Bataan Strike group and onto Onslow Beach, Nov. 3.
Immediately upon landing, the unit constructed a sprawling compound that included a communications center, Battalion Aid Station, motor transportation area, billeting for personnel, and extensive security measures to restrict access to the compound.
First Lieutenant Jeffrey I. Studebaker, Motor Transportation Officer in Charge, said Logistics Support Areas are necessary when the MEU is conducting sustained operations on shore.
"It allows us to consolidate our assets and prepare to support the elements," he said.
Studebaker said trying to carry out missions directly from ship would be very difficult, and having the Logistics Support Area as a staging ground benefits operations.
Once the LSA was constructed, the CLB was fully prepared to support missions of the MEU, BLT 2/2, and also a CLB-specific humanitarian assistance mission.
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher A. Arantz, commanding officer of CLB-26, said he was pleased with his unit's work.
"We're really working as one team now," he said. "We are still learning how to better operate, and each exercise leads to improvements."
Studebaker agreed with Arantz's assessment.
"It was the first time we did and it went very well," he said.
As CLB-26 and the 26th MEU wrap up the COMPTUEX they are one exercise away from completing the rigorous six-month predeployment training cycle that merges the disparate elements of the MEU into a cohesive, rapid-reaction force. The 26th MEU will continue to prepare for its upcoming 2007 deployment in the Global War on Terror.
For more information, news, and video on the 26th MEU, please visit www.usmc.mil/26meu.