CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Steel Knight 2013 is an annual exercise designed to train and prepare the 1st Marine Division for deployment as the Ground Combat Element (GCE) of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). The focus of the exercise is to ensure that 1st Marine Division is fully prepared to deploy as a military force across the full spectrum of conflict and is capable of responding to any crisis across the globe.
In the early 1990's, Steel Knight was an annual exercise conducted at the tank battalion level. In later years its served as pre-deployment training for 1st Marine Division (Forward) in preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom and focused on the different types of Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations that were conducted in Afghanistan.
This year, Steel Knight represents a return to a Division-level exercise that focuses on conventional operations and provides realistic training that incorporates the Marine Corps' core competencies. This year is the first time Steel Knight will be conducted simultaneously at both Camp Pendleton and 29 Palms as a base-wide live-fire exercise.
Members of the Singaporean Armed Forces (SAF) will be participating in the parallel Exercise Valiant Mark. The purpose of the exercise is to enhance interoperability, improve military-to-military relations and grow mutual combat capabilities through aggressive and challenging partnered training. Members of the SAF and Marines and sailors with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion will focus on live-fire training and amphibious, urban and helicopter-borne operations.
Units participating in Steel Knight include Marines and Sailors from 1st Marine Division Headquarters, 5th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Tank Battalion, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, as well as elements from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.