Subordinate units of Expeditionary Strike Group 3 conducted Exercise Brilliant Tern off USNS Bob Hope at Naval Base San Diego and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Nov. 9-10.
This two-day exercise was designed as a proof-of-concept, first-of-its-kind exercise honing core maritime pre-position force (MPF) competencies. Participants executed doctrinal instream operations with Bob Hope pierside at Naval Base San Diego, loading and offloading rolling stock utilizing lift-on/lift-off capabilities from the ship to the Sand Ramp at Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 and Training Area Bravo across San Diego Bay at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
“This is the first time we have done this Maritime Prepositioning Force exercise in a homeport,” said Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3. “We are able to flex the entire capabilities of the Expeditionary Strike Group and Naval Beach Group teams.”
This exercise required over a week of pre-staging rolling stock, containers, equipment and the Amphibious Bulk Liquid Transfer System (ABLTS) on Bob Hope in preparation for the exercise with Naval Beach Group 1, ACB-1 and Beach Masters Unit (BMU) 1.
Once the exercise kicked off, ACB-1 utilized their Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) which is essentially a floating pier consisting of powered and non-powered floating platforms assembled from interchangeable modules.
The INLS departed from the piers at ACB-1 at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and transited approximately three kilometers across San Diego Bay to Bob Hope which was moored pierside at Naval Base San Diego.
Once the INLS moved into position alongside the USNS Bob Hope, the ship utilized its lifting capabilities and craned containers onto the INLS for transport to the beach at Training Area Bravo (TA B).
Upon arrival at TA Bravo, the INLS was directed by a Beach Party Team from BMU-1. BMU-1 controlled the beach and ensured the safe movement of equipment from the INLS to the shore.
The movement of equipment from the MPF ship to the shore as well as the command and control between ship and shore were the core competencies exercised and successfully completed.
MPF is an important capability that allows sustained forward operations in hot spots throughout the world. A Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is typically the first unit ashore in any amphibious operation. The MEU has the ability to sustain itself without resupply for seven days.
After the initial assault force goes ashore, the larger, follow-on force will come ashore after the beach has been secured. This is where the MPF comes into play. MPF ships will offload the follow-on force’s equipment and supplies which will allow the force to remain on station without resupply for a period of up to thirty days.
There are three MPF squadrons located around in the western Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Naval Today Staff , November 15, 2011; Image: navy