The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), underway with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSG ARG), conducted an amphibious beach raid exercise on Camp Lejeune, N.C., during Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPUTEX) Jan. 29.
The simulated raid exercise, which was held as a part of COMPTUEX, was designed to let the Marines and Sailors of the ARG practice working together in ship-to-shore operations.
“We conducted an amphibious raid on Camp Lejeune, N.C., in support of the 26th MEU,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Riebe, 1803 Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) platoon commander. “This simulated exercise is part of COMPUTEX and was an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the Navy and Marine Corps capabilities.”
Marines prepared and deployed AAVs and 300 personnel into waters just off the coast of North Carolina to discretely seize the beach and move inland. During this operation, North Carolina and surrounding states are surrogates for threatening territories.
“This raid was very motivating,” said Sgt. Marcus Chantry Thornhill. “We were able to successfully pull together, prepare the Marines, equipment and AAVs and capture Camp Lejeune.”
The ability to perform quick and successful amphibious assaults while transferring Marines and equipment from a ship several miles off of a coast and quietly subdue an area from the beach is an important capability of the ARG.
“I am proud to be in the Marine Corps for exactly this reason,” said Lance Cpl. Raymond Mihalko. “We were able to work successfully with the USS Carter Hall and transport our Marines off of the ship and then back safely.”
Carter Hall, along with amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), is participating in COMPTUEX off the East Coast of the United States in preparation for an upcoming deployment this spring.
COMPTUEX is conducted during a three-week period to test the capabilities of each ship within a battle group. The group is put through a series of drills that include small boat attacks, man overboard drills, firefighting exercises and amphibious ship-to-shore movements.
Naval Today Staff, February 4, 2013; Image: US Navy