Behind the scenes of embarkation, logistics

19 Mar 2010 | Lance Cpl. Josh Pettway

Living in an area without food, water or shelter can make survival very difficult, especially in a hostile environment. Even in garrison, without supplies, mission accomplishment is an impossible task to complete.

Embarkation and logistics Marines keep accountability of supplies, personnel and millions of dollars worth of equipment during and after its transport - without them Marines cannot do their job.

During deployments, embarkation is also utilized to ensure supplies are provided in a timely manner. The aircraft aboard the Air Station cannot be employed if they are in need of unavailable parts.

“It is very important to have the proper supplies during deployments,” said Staff Sgt. Tobias Lance, the logistics chief for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251. “When you run out of supplies, it is difficult to accomplish your mission, and gear cannot be maintained without the tools to fix them.”

Embarkation Marines also tie-down equipment or package it to mitigate potential damage during shipping. The average number of Marines in an embarkation shop is three to five, but despite the small number, they still manage to accomplish their goal whether deployed or in garrison.

“Embarkation and logistics Marines have to decide how the gear is stored to ensure it does not interfere with the function of the ship or aircraft that transport it,” said Cpl. Wilifrido Camacho, the embark noncommissioned officer-in-charge for VMFA-251. “If one side of an aircraft was loaded too heavily, it could cause it to fly poorly. So, a lot rides on our shoulders.”

Embarkation also requires each individual to plan ahead for every transport to ensure that there is enough time for the shipment to arrive.

“We plan for as many different outcomes as we can, and it can be stressful because there are also deadlines we have to meet,” Lance said. “If a foreign species was introduced into the environment, it could destroy the ecosystem by disrupting the food chain.”

The supplies are not allowed to be transported until they pass inspections. To ensure the equipment meets requirements, embarkation and logistics Marines clean the supplies.

“When it comes to getting gear and personnel where they need to be, we have to get them there by any means necessary,” Camacho concluded.