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U.S. Marines drive onto Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 3, 2021. Marines with 2nd Transportation Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group conducted a convoy across the U.S., one of the longest convoys in recent Marine Corps history.
U.S. Marines drive onto Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 3, 2021. Marines with 2nd Transportation Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group conducted a convoy across the U.S., one of the longest convoys in recent Marine Corps history. (Christian Garcia/U.S. Marine Corps)

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — Marines from the 2nd Transportation Battalion, part of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group returned to Camp Lejeune Thursday afternoon after a grueling 34-day continuous mission, spanning the entire country.

In one of the longest military convoys in history, the group of Marines drove 18 vehicles approximately 5,500 miles in total. The convoy started at Camp Lejeune, across the country to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, and concluded with the return trip home.

As of now, the longest known record for similar missions was the Army's Transcontinental Motor Convoy in 1919, which lasted approximately 3,251 miles conducted over 62 days, according to base officials.

"This sets the bar, this is the new standard," said Brigadier General Forrest Poole, commanding general of 2nd MLG. "We're looking to replicate this in a different environment, maybe outside of the United States. It highlights the importance of Marines and Sailors trusting their equipment ad those on their left and right."

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Randall White, commanding officer of 2nd Transportation Support Battalion, speaks at a ceremony at  Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, June 3, 2021.
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Randall White, commanding officer of 2nd Transportation Support Battalion, speaks at a ceremony at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, June 3, 2021. (Christian Garcia/U.S. Marine Corps)
U.S. Marines stage vehicles on Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 3, 2021.
U.S. Marines stage vehicles on Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 3, 2021. (Christian Garcia/U.S. Marine Corps)

The unit not only pushed their vehicles farther than ever before, but also tested the limits of the men and women on the convoy, and the strength of their command-and-control abilities.

Not only did base officials say the convoy broke new ground for its record-setting length, but also for the communications experiments that were conducted during the convoy.

Marines tested tactics and procedures for employing "distributed command and control" over vast distances. At each stop along the mission, they used High Frequency (HF) beyond-line-of-sight, highly secure radio communications to regularly speak with an operations center all the way back in Camp Lejeune.

Radio calls to the combat operations center in Camp Lejeune took place from across the Southern United States, including stops in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Texarkana, Texas, and the Grand Canyon.

The convoy concluded Thursday afternoon, at a homecoming ceremony held in their honor aboard Camp Lejeune.

U.S. Marines get ready for the day in Texarkana, Texas, May 27, 2021.
U.S. Marines get ready for the day in Texarkana, Texas, May 27, 2021. (Scott Jenkins/U.S. Marine Corps)
U.S. Marines listen during a pre-convoy brief in Texarkana, Texas May 27, 2021.
U.S. Marines listen during a pre-convoy brief in Texarkana, Texas May 27, 2021. (Scott Jenkins/U.S. Marine Corps)

Speaking from their Maintenance Bay, the Marines and Sailors who completed the convoy were lauded for their achievement and reminded of the importance of such exercises on maintaining Marine Corps readiness in the future fight.

"Training such as this convoy ensures the logistics combat element of the Fleet Marine Force is ready and able to provide the transportation support critical to accomplishing a wide range of military operations," base officials said in a press release.

tdunnell@jdnews.com

(c)2021 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.)

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