NINEWA PROVINCE, Iraq --
Whenever Marines are away from any forward operating base, there are others who work to keep them fed, fully clad and their vehicles supplied with parts to keep them on the move. This arduous but important task is completed by Marines who know that as long as their Marines need supplies, there is no distance they can’t cover to bring the much needed items to those Marines who need them most.
Marines with the motor transport section, Headquarters and Service Company, Task Force 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 8, constantly rotate through logistics movements, or “logpacks,” bringing needed supplies to companies operating throughout the battalion’s area of operations.
“Our main job is to bring supplies to the line companies,” said Sgt. Evangelos Chimonas, a convoy commander with the motor transport section. “They have no other way to get supplies, and we will bring anything they can think of to them.”
Chimonas’ Marines are a mix of different military occupational specialties ranging from motor transport operators to infantrymen. They each use their unique skill sets to successfully complete their logistics runs.
“I set up communication throughout the logpack,” said Pfc. Kyle Darnell, a radio operator with the motor transport section. “I’m just a radio operator, but being out here, I’ve learned about so many different MOSs.”
Darnell is tasked to make sure communication is secure and running at all times while the convoy is on the road. But when he’s done loading communication frequencies into the vehicles, he helps out with everything else.
“I help out loading the trucks and changing tires,” Darnell said. “Basically anything that the logpack needs help with outside of my MOS, I help complete.”
This group effort is what gets the job done. Chimonas has had to let go of a handful of Marines due to injuries or family emergencies back home. No matter the situation, the rest of his Marines are always standing by, ready to fill any empty seats.
“I like helping out my fellow Marines,” Darnell said. “A little bit of help makes everyone’s lives easier.”
Although everyone helps out where they can, there is one Marine who is solely responsible for making sure everything is loaded properly. He is the loadmaster.
“I make sure everything that is requested from the company’s list is put onto the trucks,” said Cpl. Giovanni Serna, a loadmaster with the motor transport section.
The usually requested items are water, fuel, food and maintenance parts.
“Certain items can’t be mixed together,” Serna said. “For example, you can’t put hazardous materials and food together.”
Serna must observe the loading of the trucks to make sure everything is evenly weighted to avoid tipping, food is separated from poisonous materials and the number of supplies requested matches the amount loaded onto the trucks.
“If we’re short on water or anything, that’s my responsibility,” Serna said.
When the vehicles aren’t on convoys moving out to the line companies, they are being checked for maintenance issues so they are fully operational when needed.
“When I’m not on a log run, I’m making sure our vehicles have proper preventative maintenance,” said Lance Cpl. Zackery Glasen, the line noncommissioned officer and turret gunner with the motor transport section.
The main task of a logpack is supplying the line companies. But they must also protect themselves while on the road, looking for improvised explosive devices or any possible ambushes.
Lance Cpl. Wilson Vicenteorellana, a turret gunner and motor transport operator with the motor transport section, said that he takes his job as a “guardian angel” seriously.
A guardian angel plays an important role in the safety and security of Marines who are preoccupied with other duties. They provide overwatch, ensuring that others can focus on the task-at-hand, knowing that a fellow Marine is watching over their shoulder, warding off any would be attackers.
“It’s one of those jobs that makes you feel good about yourself,” Vicente said. “You are protecting everyone and you have to watch out for everything.”
Chimonas’ Marines work together to complete the long logpacks, making sure the vehicles are ready, supplies are correct, communication channels are open and the convoy is being protected. Their combined efforts ensure supplies are brought out to Marines on the front lines, no matter what time of day or the distance traveled.