Bullets, Beans and Band-Aids: CLR-25 provides for Task Force Arctic Edge

By Sgt. Brianna Gaudi Alaskan Command

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A long way from their home station of Camp Lejeune, N.C., the Marines of Combat Logistics Regiment 25 make up the command element of Task for Arctic Edge, providing the necessary logistical requirements and command and control for the units it is comprised of, all while battling the blistering snow and numbing cold that accompanies northern Alaska in March.

Although every Marine is a rifleman, CLR-25 man their computers stations, radios and vehicles opposed to their weapons. In charge of verifying all requirements and deconflicting any issues the task force may come across, CLR-25 plays a vital role in the planning and execution of the Exercise.

Sgt. Derick Gary, a transmissions systems supervisor who has been with CLR-25 for two years explains that without the unit it would cripple the task force as a whole. 

“Marines can’t complete their mission without bullets, beans and band-aids,” said Gary. “They can’t get their three B’s without convoys to move supplies and convoys can’t run without communication to support them.”

With a lot of moving parts, Marines have enough to deal with without the challenges of working in a cold weather environment being added into the equation.

GySgt. Brandon Strang, the operations chief for Task for Arctic Edge with CLR-25 explains the importance of cold weather training as it relates to logistics down to the individual Marine. He tells about how the Marine Corps has readjusted their focus after having spent 10 to 15 years in a desert environment rather than an Arctic atmosphere.

“There’s a lot going on in the world and it’s not just in the desert anymore, so this is a reality check in terms of every clime and place,” said Strang. “Marines are quick to adapt to surroundings, and training like this sets the precedents for being a force in readiness and allows us to practice what we preach.”

After completing a training package at Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., to learn basic survivability skills, the unit made its way north to Alaska to get some real-world experience and put their skills to the test.

“There are a lot of challenges working in cold weather, and it can become frustrating to complete even the most simple of tasks,” Gary said. “But I believe this kind of environment brings the best out of Marines and forces us to become closer to one another.”

Aside from the weather CLR-25 has put in long hours, beginning preparation for the exercise in the months prior to leaving North Carolina. Consisting of a lot of moving parts, between building manifests and rosters to move Marines from one place to another, the unit is also tasked with putting together feed and operation plans.

“It can often become a logistical burden to have to sustain a large-scale force for fuel, food and equipment for such a long period of time, and with always room to improve, the Marines have worked diligently to overcome and meet requirements,” said Strang.

Brining the exercise to a close, the biennial, large-scale, joint-training exercise prepares and tests the U.S. military’s ability to operate tactically in the extreme cold-weather conditions found in Arctic environments.

Task Force Arctic Edge is comprised of Marines from all across II Marine Expeditionary Force, and consists of more than 1500 participants from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy utilizing the unique and expansive air and ground training areas in Alaska.

CLR-25 has a large impact in enabling the task force to assess and refine their ability to rapidly deploy and operate to defend U.S. security interests, as well as supporting them to utilize and showcase their robust, multi-service capabilities.

“We sort of paved the way for what logistics are necessary for future operations in the cold, and have become more efficient as a unit,” said Gary. “ I hope to see some great things come out of Arctic Edge.”