Archive for February 13, 2012

TRAINING: Marines, Navy, NATO in Massive Amphibious Warfare Exercise

Bold Alligator 2012

Amphibious assault vehicles maneuver into formation after disembarking from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during Exercise Bold Alligator 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stuart Phillips)

President Obama, in issuing his strategic guidance for the Defense Department last month, stated that the U.S. military – especially its ground forces – will shrink in size over the next five years after a decade of fighting counter insurgency-style wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So the new policy calls for a leaner fighting force that is nimble, fast to react to threats and expeditionary in its abilities to get troops and equipment where they are needed in a hurry.

A landing craft air cushion (LCAC) comes ashore during the amphibious assault phase of the exercise Bold Alligator 2012. ((U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tom Gagnier)

For the last couple of years now, the U.S. Marine Corps has been touting itself as that “middleweight” quick reaction force that can go anywhere and fight its way ashore by sea or air.

That claim was on display along the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina where Bold Alligator 2012, the largest amphibious exercise in at least a decade, was conducted by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and forces from several NATO member states and other countries.

The exercise, which started on Jan. 30 and ended Sunday (Feb. 12), involved more than two dozen Navy ships as well as some 20,000 sailors and Marines. Troops and and aircraft from NATO partners Britain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain took part – as did forces from Australia and New Zealand.

U.S. and French Marines launch a rocket from a SMAAW (Squad Medium Anti Armor Weapon) during Exercise Bold Alligator 2012 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.(Defense Dept. photo by Marvin Lynchard)

Operations conducted during the exercise included a “hot extract” (video) conducted by the Navy’s Riverine Squadron 1 and Dutch Marines. There were also three large-scale operations including an amphibious assault at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; an aerial assault from the sea into Fort Pickett, Virginia and an amphibious raid on Fort Story, also in Virginia.

Royal Netherlands marines and U.S. sailors assigned to Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1 conduct a hot extract drill during Exercise Bold Alligator 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Lynn Friant)

The units involved included the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, Expeditionary Strike Group 2 (ESG-2), 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC).

An MV-22B Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 is unloaded on the USS Wasp as a Navy MH-60S Knighthawk idles nearby, during Exercise Bold Alligator. (Photo by Lance Cpl Martin Egnash)

Remember to click on the photos to enlarge the image. To see more photos, click here, here and here.

February 13, 2012 at 10:38 am 1 comment


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