The amphibious dock landing ship, USS Germantown (LSD 42) returned to White Beach, Okinawa after completing III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) exercise Blue Chromite 16.
The operations were a combined effort that included 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines attached to the 4th Marine Regiment embarked aboard Germantown. This was the second consecutive year that Germantown participated in the annual U.S. Marine-led exercise designed to evaluate various air and ground unit deployment programs and to integrate adjacent air and logistics combat elements (ACE and LCE).
Having embarked Marines at White Beach Naval Base on 25 October, USS Germantown started Blue Chromite with a series of deck landing qualifications. VM-22 Osprey aircraft from Marine Aircraft Group 36 (MAG 36) conducted underway launch and recoveries on the ship’s flight deck in order to maintain proficiency and training. Day time and challenging night flight operations were conducted as well as aerial assault landings, passenger transfers, and refueling evolutions.
Blue Chromite’s primary training objective was executed the final day of the exercise off the shores of Okinawa. Germantown served as the launch ship for the amphibious and airborne assault, disembarking the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines and their equipment via Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV), two Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) assigned to Naval Beach Unit 7, and two MAG 36 Ospreys. Once the beach was secured, the Marine landing force proceeded to seize strongholds held by a mock enemy provided for by acting forces from the U.S. Marines.
Image: US Navy