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Roughnecks tackle heat, rain during exercise

2 Jul 2004 | Cpl. Micah Snead

The Roughnecks of Combat Service Support Detachment 23 slogged their way through heat and severe thunderstorms during a field exercise aboard the Air Station, June 22 – 24.

The Marines and Sailors set-up and operated a combat service support area in the woods behind the detachment’s motor pool.

A support area is designed to move support toward forward elements and this exercise was intended to test the preparation and execution of such a mission, according to 1st Lt. Robert Wolfe, executive officer, CSSD-23.

“We wanted to practice our preparation concerning everything from the logistics of being in a field environment to how we set all the tents up,” Wolfe said. “Our main focus was doing everything properly, all the way from the set-up, to running normal operations, the breakdown and packing all the gear.”

The detachment is a melting pot of military occupational specialties, including many types of jobs from military policemen and administrative clerks to heavy equipment drivers and corpsmen. The field exercises bring the Marines together and let them get a taste of different jobs and experiences, according to Wolfe.

“When you’re setting up a site it doesn’t matter what your job is, you just jump in and work,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Wayne Gonsorick, CSSD-23. “You have to do your job and help with anything else at the same time. It’s hard but it’s easier when you work as a team.”
The detachment normally conducts field exercises quarterly, alternating between practicing ground maintenance and ground combat operations.

“We like to get out as much as we can, it always makes for good training,” Wolfe said. “Next time we go out we’ll practice our patrolling and small unit combat skills.”

Mother Nature provided plenty of realism for the exercise with high temperatures by day and severe thunderstorms at night.

“The weather sucked, but it shows you that you can still accomplish the mission,” said Sgt. Curtis Carpenter, supply chief, CSSD-23. “The weather is never going to cooperate, so you just have to know how to deal with it.”

Lessons learned during deployments help the detachment see the purpose behind field exercises, according to Wolfe.

“While we don’t deploy as a unit, we do send a lot of augments out,” Wolfe said. “Personally, in Kuwait I saw the need for high-quality, streamlined support. You take these exercises more seriously when you know it’s exactly what you’ll be doing during a deployment.”

Overall the exercise ran smoothly, because in large part to preparation and practice, according to Wolfe.

“We were very pleased with how everyone responded, even when something malfunctioned,” Wolfe said. “The prior-planning paid off. It just goes to show that proper practice leads to good execution.”