USA — Marines Return to Amphibious Roots

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., Dec. 15, 2010 — After near­ly a decade of fight­ing in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marine Corps has been inap­pro­pri­ate­ly brand­ed as a sec­ond land army.

 A landing craft heaves through a near-shore swell on the Red Beach coastline on Camp Pendleton, Calif., during assault training exercise Dawn Blitz, June 3, 2010. The weeklong Navy/Marine exercise involved 4,500 sailors and Marines, seven ships, 60 amphibious assault vehicles, 16 landing craft and numerous fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.
A land­ing craft heaves through a near-shore swell on the Red Beach coast­line on Camp Pendle­ton, Calif., dur­ing assault train­ing exer­cise Dawn Blitz, June 3, 2010. The week­long Navy/Marine exer­cise involved 4,500 sailors and Marines, sev­en ships, 60 amphibi­ous assault vehi­cles, 16 land­ing craft and numer­ous fixed-wing and rotary air­craft.
U.S. Marine Corps pho­to by Don Bartlet­ti
Click to enlarge

In response to this mis­con­cep­tion, the Corps returned to its amphibi­ous roots Dec. 11 with exer­cise Bold Alli­ga­tor 2011, an oper­a­tion with the Navy’s U.S. 2nd Fleet, which re-estab­lish­es Marines in their tra­di­tion­al role as “fight­ers from the sea.”

Ini­ti­at­ed by Navy and Marine Corps lead­er­ship, Bold Alli­ga­tor 2011 is a two-part exer­cise lead­er­ship designed to reac­quaint brigade- and group-lev­el com­mands with their amphibi­ous doc­trine, tac­ti­cal skill sets and logis­ti­cal require­ments.

“Though we have focused [at this lev­el] almost exclu­sive­ly on land war­fare in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last decade, amphibi­ous oper­a­tions con­tin­ue to be the main­stay of our Corps’ mis­sion,” explained Marine Corps Col. Scott D. Aiken, oper­a­tions offi­cer for the 2nd Marine Expe­di­tionary Force. “We have been work­ing toward this for more than two years now, and it’s one of the first of many steps in the direc­tion to revi­tal­ize our core com­pe­ten­cy.”

Dur­ing these two years, plan­ners from the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Staff Train­ing Pro­gram in Quan­ti­co, Va., have been busy engi­neer­ing sce­nario-based envi­ron­ments to test the Navy/Marine Corps team on their amphibi­ous com­pe­tence and the dozens of dif­fer­ent mis­sions that fall under amphibi­ous oper­a­tions.

“Amphibi­ous oper­a­tions are much more than just assaults,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Bowen Rich­wine, lead action offi­cer for the expe­di­tionary force’s part in the exer­cise.

In fact, since 1990, the Navy/Marine Corps team has con­duct­ed more than 110 amphibi­ous oper­a­tions through­out the world, includ­ing non­com­bat­ant evac­u­a­tions, dis­as­ter relief or sim­i­lar cri­sis-response oper­a­tions con­duct­ed in aus­tere and uncer­tain envi­ron­ments.

“While assault is one rea­son for main­tain­ing amphibi­ous capa­bil­i­ties, the util­i­ty in con­duct­ing raids, demon­stra­tions and amphibi­ous sup­port to non­com­bat­ant oper­a­tions is immense,” Rich­wine explained. “Amphibi­ous forces also have enor­mous deter­rent val­ue against poten­tial adver­saries.”

Bold Alli­ga­tor 2011 is the first install­ment in what will be reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled large-scale amphibi­ous exer­cis­es involv­ing the 2nd Marine Expe­di­tionary Brigade and the Navy’s Expe­di­tionary Strike Group 2. Marines and sailors are con­duct­ing the exer­cise from two Navy land­ing heli­copter assault amphibi­ous ships, the USS Iwo Jima and USS Bataan, and mul­ti­ple sim­u­la­tion cen­ters that will pro­vide in-depth analy­sis of land­ing timeta­bles, weath­er con­di­tions and fires effects. The next sched­uled event for the train­ing cycle is a live exer­cise sched­uled for Feb­ru­ary.

The sce­nario for the exer­cise includes the con­duct of a forcible entry oper­a­tion to enable a non­com­bat­ant evac­u­a­tion in the midst of a vio­lent sec­tar­i­an con­flict. This com­plex, but real­is­tic, mis­sion requires the abil­i­ty to respond rapid­ly, project a cred­i­ble secu­ri­ty force ashore, and orga­nize the evac­u­a­tion of thou­sands of non­com­bat­ants.

In many cas­es, these capa­bil­i­ties can be pro­vid­ed only by amphibi­ous forces. Bold Alli­ga­tor 2011 is designed not only to retain pro­fi­cien­cy in amphibi­ous oper­a­tions for the Navy/Marine team, but also to update con­cepts, pro­ce­dures and tech­niques, and to incor­po­rate the new enablers devel­oped since the units last focused on amphibi­ous oper­a­tions at the this lev­el in 2001, offi­cials said.

“We need to con­tin­u­ous­ly refine our think­ing and our train­ing with amphibi­ous capa­bil­i­ty,” Rich­wine said. “We have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to devel­op new skill sets across the entire range of mil­i­tary oper­a­tions — from human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to con­test­ed beach assaults, and every­thing in between.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →