Defense Transformation Banner
Search
 TRANSFORMATION
 SPECIAL REPORTS
Sailors and Marines Integrate Training for First Time at Sea
By U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Dave Nagle / USS Kearsarge Strike Group Public Affairs

ABOARD USS KEARSARGE, At Sea, Nov. 24, 2004 – The USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit trained together for the first time at sea as the Kearsarge prepares for its upcoming scheduled deployment. The Kearsarge completed PHIBRON-Marine Integrated Training while underway Nov. 15-23, 2004.

See Caption.
A Landing Craft Air Cushion heads to the beach at Onslow Bay, N.C., Nov. 16, to transport U.S. Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit to the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge. The Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group and the Marine unit are conducting integrated training in preparation for a deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Sarah E. Ard

“Our objectives were to fully integrate the Marines with the Kearsarge, while training across all warfare areas with our cruisers and destroyers, amphibious ships and submarine,” said Cmdr. Paul McElroy, operations officer for the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group.

The integrated training lays the groundwork to create a ‘Blue-Green’ team and to work through initial challenges that arise when integrating the Marines aboard ship.

“This is a dress rehearsal of sorts for us,” added Master Sgt. Kerry Dunlap, combat cargo assistant for USS Kearsarge. “This allows us to see what changes need to be made before we get into the real-life situation.”

The eight-day exercise included many of the evolutions the strike group and Marine unit would execute during real-world operations, to begin with the loading of more than 900 Marines, vehicles and equipment of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Onslow Bay, N.C. by landing craft air cushion and helicopter.

Other training events included daily flight operations with Marine helicopter and AV-8B II Harrier jets, landing craft air cushion and amphibious assault vehicle operations and beach assaults via landing craft air cushion and helicopter.

“As a staff, we integrated in planning and executing a variety of missions,” said McElroy. “However, more interestingly, we integrated with the Marine Expeditionary Unit, utilizing their aircraft for traditional Navy missions like identifying aircraft and surface shipping. Conversely, we are trying to support the Marines with our cruisers and destroyers and submarine.”

In addition to integrating and training with the Marines, the integrated training was also an opportunity for the ships to continue training with each other, improving communications and interoperability that began with the Expeditionary Strike Group sail in October.

“We accomplished several exercises involving anti-submarine warfare, exercises against enemy ships, air defense and offloading Marines,” said McElroy.

Commodore Edward Barfield, commander, Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group, felt the integrated training was a successful evolution and was pleased with how well all operations went.

"Our objectives were to fully integrate the Marines with the Kearsarge, while training across all warfare areas with our cruisers and destroyers, amphibious ships and submarine."
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Paul McElroy

“Across the board in every area – Navy, Marine and staff – we’ve made great progress toward becoming a mobile, combat-ready, flexible and self-sustaining Expeditionary Strike Group,” said Barfield. “Teamwork was the key ingredient to this success and that teamwork between the blue and green teams was evident throughout the exercise.”

With the training complete, the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare for the Expeditionary Strike Group Exercise, the next phase in their combined training.

DoD Homepage War on Terror News Products Press Resources Images Contact Us
 Site Map   Privacy & Security Notice   About DoD   External Link Disclaimer   Web Policy   About DefenseLINK   FirstGov.gov