SAN DIEGO - Marines and sailors with 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Expeditionary Strike Group-3 joined forces during Exercise Dawn Blitz 13.1, aboard the USS Boxer, Jan. 28-31, 2013.
Dawn Blitz is a 1st MEB and ESG-3 combined, two-part exercise to conduct brigade-sized amphibious operations and develop a stronger working relationship between the Navy and Marine Corps. The second portion of Dawn Blitz, 13.2, will take place in June.
The 1st MEB is a force that can deploy as a Marine Air-Ground Task Force in the event of a crisis contingency to conduct combat operations and humanitarian disaster assistance relief missions.
“We view ourselves as a naval force; an integral component to a Navy-Marine Corps team,” said Gen. John J. Broadmeadow, the commanding general of 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, during a recent interview with Marine Corps Times. “Today the ESG is our Navy counterpart, so the MEB headquarters is the natural Marine linkage to that side of naval operations that exist.”
During Dawn Blitz, 13.1, Marines and sailors will complete a series of virtual scenario exercises aboard the USS Boxer that will prepare 1st MEB and ESG-3 for the second portion of Dawn Blitz which will include large-scale amphibious landings, non-combative emergency evacuations and tactical recover of aircraft and personnel. Marines will also conduct small-unit training following amphibious landings.
Several foreign nations, including Canada and Australia, are scheduled to take part in 13.2 to enhance working relationships between the U.S. and its allies and create a more effective battle space.
“I’m moving ahead with planning for 13.2,” Broadmeadow said. “Our staffs are working together. We really create a better understanding on how you can use the sea as a maneuver space and still apply affects ashore. That’s the end result of a lot of the work we’ve been doing, the ability to bring naval affects ashore.”
Since 1990, the Navy-Marine Corps team has conducted over 1,000 amphibious operations together including around 100 crises and 900 national security cooperative engagement events. Over the last decade, the Marine Corps maintained focus on ground combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“This is not easy,” Rear Admiral Gerard Hueber said. “We haven’t done this as a fighting force together at this ESG, MEB level in years. It starts at the commander’s level down to who is in our combined staffs and how we do our classroom training, followed up by the synthetic training. If we knew everything about what we’re doing we wouldn’t be here training.”
One of the main focuses of Dawn Blitz is to enhance the existing relationship with the Navy-Marine Corps team. Partnership between the services in responding to crises or humanitarian assistance missions is vital.
In 2010, more than 5,000 Marines and 3,000 sailors aboard seven amphibious ships responded for humanitarian assistance and crisis response to the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti.
The Marine Corps conducted its first MEB-level amphibious assault exercise in over nine years in 2010. One of the Marine Corps focuses is to get back to its amphibious roots to enhance operational readiness for crisis response and future objectives.
“A lot of our Marines have been very used to this sustained combat we’ve been in,” Broadmeadow said. “They’re stepping back into an expeditionary environment and getting our Marines thinking back into the unknown, dealing with the chaos of being in a crisis response force and being able to go anywhere at any time and do whatever’s required is kind of a mentality you’ve got to develop over time.”