November 21, 2011
Outside Online magazine has a fascinating article on renewable energy and front-line fighting with the United States Marines.
Back in 2003 during the second Iraq war in 2003, General James Mattis commanded the 1st Marine Division during their initial drive into Baghdad, and found his division repeatedly outpacing their own fuel resupply.
They were required to reduce speed to match pace with the much slower fuel resources if they wished to remain fully fueled during the trip. In General Mattis’ post-combat report to Congress, he asked the US Department of Defense to “unleash us from the tether of fuel.” It hasn’t exactly happened yet.
This story is not just a report on the second Iraq war. It features detailed accounts of US Marines India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment as they transition to renewable energy sources for power and clean water while they continue to fight.
Colonel Bob Charette, Head of the Expeditionary Energy Office, is quoted many times in the article. His words are refreshing, especially given the typical gridlock and red tape, debates and watered-down answers we’ve come to expect from Washington.
“Our dependence on power generation puts us directly at risk,” Charette said. “To the Marine Corps, it isn’t about money or global warming. It’s about saving lives.”
The efforts to make the Marines more combat effective using renewable energy are quickly gaining ground because of what the story calls, “the Corps’s relentless, non-ideological pragmatism.”
Charette again: “We’re going to change the way we think. In the Marine Corps, behavior change is easy.”
This time it’s Washington DC who is challenged to keep pace.
This story is worth the read!