Archive for February 13, 2012
Bold Alligator 2012
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.
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.
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.
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).