MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with 1st Transportation Support Battalion and Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, along with Sailors assigned to Assault Craft Unit 5 and Beach Master Unit 1, participated in ship-to-shore drills during exercise Pacific Horizon 2015 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct.23.
PH 15 is a scenario driven, simulation supported crisis response exercise designed to improve 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade's and Expeditionary Strike Group 3's interoperability and strengthen Navy-Marine Corps relations by conducting an in-stream Maritime Prepositioning Force offload of equipment by providing host country civil-military security assistance, and by conducting infrastructure restoration support from Oct. 20-28.
The training exercise served as a way to hone interoperability between Marines and Sailors when responding to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.
“This is a two-ship in-stream offload by using the maritime prepositioning force ships, both the USNS Dahl and the USNS Williams,” said 1st Lt. Nick Boling, the landing force support party operations officer for Landing Support Company, 1st Transportation Support Battalion. “We are also using the USNS Montfort Point, which is a brand new ship that we began testing on for the MPF.”
The drill consisted of utilizing five Landing Craft, Air Cushions, which traveled back and forth from the ships to beach, carrying tactical equipment to support a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission.
Lance Cpl. Brett Barba, a landing support specialist with Landing Support Company, 1st Transportation Support Bn, said the mobile landing platform utilized to communicate the Landing Craft, Air Cushions with the gear on ship has three lanes for the LCACs.
“Three LCACs go on the [mobile landing platform], pick up the gear and bring it to shore, when it comes to shore the landing support specialist Marines will off load the gear and take accountability of it.”
Once the cargo is on the beach and the cargo support specialists have offloaded it, they notate their serial numbers. The gear is then transferred to the movement control center, where it gets sorted out and distributed to the specific elements, whether it is ground, air or logistics combat element.
“My job entails successful retrieval of the data we get from the gear, including serial numbers and making sure the gear gets to where it needs to go,” said Barba. “We’ll break the gear up by sticks; it’ll get organized and sent out to where it’s needed.”
Throughout the process, Marines utilized the Integrated Placement and Registration of Identified Materials and Equipment to effectively and efficiently record gear data.
“The IPRIME scans the radio frequency identifier tags, which are located in most of the Marine Corps assets to include Humvees and other vehicles,” said Barba. When the equipment goes by it, (the IPRIME) pins it and it sends (a confirmation of receipt) to a computer which can be put in a manifest for higher headquarters.”
Navy-Marine Corps teams work together to positively respond to natural disasters, and provide humanitarian assistance in a quick and efficient manner. PH 15’s ship-to-shore drills highlight these capabilities.
“There are squadrons placed out in strategic places in the Indian and Pacific Ocean, they are ready to deploy at a moment’s notice and can be used for either combative means or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” said Boling. “For this specific exercise, we’re simulating humanitarian aid and disaster relief.”
Throughout the years, Marines have responded to natural disasters in places such as Philippines and Haiti, capable of assisting in disasters ranging from typhoons to earthquakes and tsunamis, according to Boling.
“These ships are put out in strategic places for countries that don’t have the response time that countries [like ours] do, [places] that are usually getting hit by hurricanes,” said Boling.
Marines and Sailor continue to work hand-to-hand through PH 15, enhancing close working relationship that is based on past tradition, present operations and future requirements to project power from the sea to the shore.