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Marines with 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, maneuver their light armored vehicles off Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) from the Navy’s Assault Craft Unit 5, during an amphibious raid demonstration in conjunction with a visit from the secretary of defense, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 27, 2015. The LCACs transported the LAVs and Marines from the USS New Orleans (LDP 18) while Marines from Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Mar. Div. used amphibious assault vehicles with 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Mar. Div. to assault their objective.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Bobbie Curtis

1st Marine Division demonstrates its amphibious capabilities for Secretary of Defense

30 Aug 2015 | Staff Sgt. Bobbie Curtis I Marine Expeditionary Force

Marines and sailors with 1st Marine Division had the opportunity to conduct an amphibious raid demonstration in conjunction with a visit from the secretary of defense at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Aug. 27, 2015.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter observed the training conducted by multiple units within the Blue Diamond. Company A, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, used assault amphibious vehicles to move infantrymen from Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, to shore from the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LDP 18) while 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion provided additional security. 

Once on shore, the tracked vehicles advanced onto a “combat town” training area and released the Marines with 1st Bn., 1st Marines, who conducted a simulated attack on a building, while engaged by role players simulating an enemy force. The attack included the use of blank ammunition to increase the realism of the raid. 

Shortly after the AAVs advanced past the beach to their objective, they were reinforced by another wave from the sea. Two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) from the Navy’s Assault Craft Unit 5, brought forth a platoon of light armored vehicles with 3rd LAR, 1st Marine Division, who quickly disembarked and maneuvered to provide additional security. 

Just prior to the amphibious landing, Marines from 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Mar. Div., inserted close to the beach using riverine command boats and swam ashore to conduct a beach reconnaissance with the mission of identifying any obstacles or “enemy” that may interfere with the main landing force. After their initial reconnaissance, the Marines continued to provide guidance to the landing forces and assisted with the follow-on seizure of the beach. 

The demonstration was a prime opportunity for the different units to practice working together in an amphibious raid, according to Capt. Joseph Berg, the commander of Company A, 1st Bn., 1st Marines.

“It’s a very rare opportunity to bring the team together,” said Berg. “We usually only see it in large [exercises] like Dawn Blitz, Steel Knight, or when we are with [III Marine Expeditionary Force conducting exercises] like Cobra Gold. Being able to have this unique experience, where we bring a team together in a short compressed timeline, is a testament of our flexibility and will to adapt to our environment in order to accomplish the mission.” 

According to Secretary Carter, amphibious capabilities are vital as the U.S. military rebalances its forces in the Pacific theater, providing a globally rapid response force. The U.S. is adapting its overall defensive posture to be geographically distributed and operationally resilient. The demonstration showcased the Navy and Marine Corps’ ability to support these objectives while operating as a cohesive warfighting team.

1st Marine Division