TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- At a lonely point in the desert sits a small compound, where some of the only entertainment available is the number of bees that can be caught.
Since May 24, some 20 or so Marines have sat waiting in the heat, milling about the compound until vehicles are heard pulling into the area and then everyone knows it is time to go to work.
This is life at the Combat Service Support Area and whether it is chow or bullets, the Marines of Combat Logistics Battalion-15 area ready to provide it.
Combat Logistics Battalion-15, or CLB-15, plays a vital role in support of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and its other attachments, such as Battalion Landing Team 2/4.
The CSSA is just one part of the many roles played by CLB-15.
According to Staff Sgt. Camilo Zamora, Ammunition Chief for CLB-15 and the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the CSSA, the CSSA is a one-stop shop for BLT 2/4 while they are conducting operations during Mojave Viper.
Zamora explained the main mission of the CSSA is to act as a staging point for and to provide ammunition, fuel and water to the BLT.
“It improves the effectiveness of the battalion by establishing support in a consolidated area within the training area,” said Zamora.
With the support area being placed in a forward position, units that are training do not have to make the long drive, sometimes 50 or more miles, to the rear for their supplies, saving valuable training time, Zamora explained.
Likened to a 24 hour service station, the CSSA is open day and night to support the units that are training. Since the word “no” is not in their vocabulary, Zamora explained that even during the darkest of hours they are here to support.
Supplies are not the only thing the Marines have been able to provide the BLT. Occasionally there will be a request for assistance with communications gear or a medical emergency that needs tending to and that assistance can be found at the CSSA as well.
“They are out here accomplishing their mission, we’re going to be as accommodating as possible. I see us as a force multiplier. [BLT 2/4] is able to meet a lot more stringent timelines with us being at their disposal,” said Zamora.
Though the CSSA is only supporting BLT 2/4 this Mojave Viper exercise, Zamora explained that in January they had a CSSA large enough to support multiple battalions at a time.
Zamora further explained that if the 15th MEU is deployed to an area where there is no infrastructure in place, this is the same type of forward supply area that CLB-15 would set up.
An important aspect of the CSSA is the fact that this is one of the first times CLB-15 has supported BLT 2/4, Zamora explained. Because of this fact, not only do both units have the opportunity to become familiar with each other, but the BLT gets to see what capabilities CLB-15 can provide.