MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Combat Logistics Company 36 has been training to become a rough and tough infantry unit here Feb. 18 in preparation for a deployment to Yokosuka for Forest Light, an exercise where they will help support the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force by showing them different ways of completing the mission.
“We took these logistics Marines and are training them as an infantry platoon,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel L. Shaw, 3rd Marine Logistics Group infantry unit leader. “They have done everything from basic patrols, immediate action drills, mounting and dismounting helicopters, setting up a defense perimeter, etc.”
The CLC-36 Marines have been taught a wide range of classes and done weeks of training for radio transmissions, patrolling, formations, communication, hand signals and much more.
“The most important thing we teach these Marines is security,” said Shaw. “Having these Marines think security first is the biggest issue. If two people are working, then they need to have their fellow Marines providing security making sure they are safe.”
Having Marines trained to provide security helps to keep everyone safe and alive during missions.
“If these Marines go out to a combat environment, they’re going to have the importance of security instilled in them and they will be preaching the importance of security to their fellow Marines,” said Shaw.
Training these Marines for combat prepares them for real-life situations.
“These Marines are extremely motivated to get out of their offices and learn more about what we do,” said Shaw.
The Marines of CLC-36 don’t have the opportunity to train as an infantry platoon every day, so when this chance presented itself, these Marines made every second of their training count.
“It’s been raining and snowing but these Marines really pay attention, ask good questions and seem to be having a good time with this training,” said Shaw.
Lance Cpl. Jimmy S. Harden is normally an automotive organizational mechanic, but during the recent training, he became known as the Squad Automatic Weapon gunner of 3rd squad, 3rd fire team.
“We have been out here in the snow, rain, dirt and mud, but we all keep training because we want to prove the old saying, we are all riflemen first,” said Harden.
The Marines came from all the different CLC-36 shops, so many of them don’t work with each other very often or at all.
“Our communication has really improved since we’ve been training together,” said Harden.
Non-infantry Marines performing infantry-exclusive tasks did not inspire confidence for some outside observers, but the presence of such doubt only fueled the drive of these Marines.
“A lot of higher up personnel are worried about having non-infantry Marines doing this, but I think they’re going to be impressed,” said Shaw.
CLC-36 will be helping support the JMSDF during Forest Light and will teach them what they know and try to learn what they can about how the Japanese train and fight.