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Okinawa Marines in the Asia-Pacific region

Okinawa, Japan
CLB-3 Marines hammer out new SWA hut

By Lance Cpl. Nathan Knapke | | October 27, 2013

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Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 3 lift a truss into place while building a Southwestern Asia hut at engineer building lot 4079, Oct. 10.

Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 3 lift a truss into place while building a Southwestern Asia hut at engineer building lot 4079, Oct. 10. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Nathan Knapke)


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MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY -- Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 3 worked to complete a Southwest Asia or “SWA” hut at engineer building lot 4079, Oct. 10.

A SWA hut is usually a 16-feet by 32-feet wooden structure and is used by the Marine Corps as supplemental office space, living quarters and briefing rooms. They cost around $10,000 to build and require the manpower of 10 Marines.

Combat Logistics Battalion 3 Marines focused on their mission, whether it was nailing the framework together, holding correct dimensions in place or teaching junior Marines the tricks of the trade.

“For many of the Marines, it was the first time we’ve had a chance to build a SWA hut together,” said Lance Cpl. Adrian Esparza, a combat engineer with CLB-3 and 19-year-old native of Lamesa, Texas. “Exercises like this help us get to know how one another works together.”

The SWA hut building exercise is a part of the “Mission Essential Task List” or the “METL” list, explained Sgt. Jeremy Boerner, a construction foreman with CLB-3 and a 28-year-old native of Canton, Ohio.

A METL list focuses on a unit's combat mission. It narrows the unit's training focus to a limited number of tasks that are essential to mission accomplishment during combat.

“We had the majority of the SWA hut built on Wednesday,” Boerner said. “When we found out that they weren’t built correctly, we made the Marines tear everything down and correctly build the SWA. It stresses the importance of doing things the right way.”

This is just one job CLB-3 completes to stay combat ready. Along with constructing, altering and repairing structures, combat engineers are taught demolitions and land mine warfare.

“When we go out with the infantry, we have many jobs we have to be able to perform to help support them,” Esparza said. “I love this job. There is always something new we have to do, always keeping the job interesting. There is never a dull day.”

The SWA huts can be built and tore down to place anywhere. Like the SWA huts, bridges are built and can be placed anywhere. The next training exercise will have CLB-3 Marines building a bridge.

“Everything we do is meant to help us become proficient at our job,” Boerner said. “When we go out on larger training exercises we will be able to perform at our best.”
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