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Marines, Sailors Join Coalition in Exercise Bright Star

By Marine Corps Capt. Clark D. Carpenter
Special to American Forces Press Service

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, Oct. 14, 2009 – U.S. Marines and sailors were part of a four-nation coalition that stormed the beaches near here during a major amphibious assault demonstration Oct. 12.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
A light-armored vehicle assaults the beach from a landing craft utility from Assault Craft Unit 2 during an amphibious assault demonstration conducted as part of Bright Star 2009, Egypt, Oct. 12, 2009. The Marines are assigned to Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Epright

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Navy’s Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, as well as the Egyptian army and navy and Pakistani and Kuwaiti marines, took part in the assault as part of Exercise Bright Star 2009, which began Oct. 10 and ends Oct. 20.

“This was a team effort,” said Marine Corps Col. Gareth F. Brandl, the 22nd MEU’s commander. “Conducting operations like this with our partner nations now will help ensure we can conduct future missions in a proficient and professional manner.”

As part of the simulation, Egyptian special operations forces conducted beach reconnaissance prior to the assault. U.S. Marines followed with four AV-88 Harriers. Then amphibious assault vehicles, Humvees and landing craft came ashore.

The Marines have been planning for the exercise since June, said Marine Corps Lt. Col. David Owen, the 22nd MEU’s operations officer.

“There was a significant amount of detailed planning that went into this event to ensure success,” Owen said. “This is a great example of how we can work together with our partner nations in this region, regardless of any language barrier, and plan and execute very complex mission sets like the amphibious assault demonstration today.”

Troops from the various nations, along with 30 vehicles including aircraft, landing craft, amphibious assault vehicles and amphibious tracked vehicles, participated.

“This type of training is important, because it shows us what we can accomplish working with other forces from around the world,” said Marine Corps Cpl. Gabriel T. Church, a vehicle commander with Combined Anti-Armor Team, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd MEU. “As the theater reserve force, there are endless possibilities of what we may be asked to do -- noncombatant evacuations, humanitarian relief or combat operations. This training helps keep our edge sharpened if the situation calls for it.”

Established in 1981 as a result of the Camp David Peace Accords between Egypt and Israel, Bright Star is U.S. Central Command’s longest-running exercise. Co-sponsored by Centcom and its Egyptian counterpart, it’s designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships and improve readiness and interoperability among the United States, Egypt and coalition forces.

Highlights of this year's exercise include a naval exercise, a multinational amphibious assault demonstration, a multinational paratrooper jump involving 600 troops and a combined arms live fire exercise.

(Marine Corps Capt. Clark D. Carpenter serves with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit public affairs office.)

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Related Sites:
Exercise Bright Star
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit
U.S. Central Command

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