Marines of Amphibious Assault Vehicle platoon, Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regiment, returned to their expeditionary roots when they splashed in off the sands of Pyramid Rock beach during Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2012 (RIMPAC) to meet the USS Essex (LHD-2).
The purpose of the training exercise July 12, 2012, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii- Kane’ohe Bay, was to increase the proficiency of ship-to-shore maneuvers (water operations), and to fall in line with the Marine Corps commandant’s mission of getting Marines back to their expeditionary roots.
“Our bread and butter is being able to carry infantry to shore,” said Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Kyle Durant, Amphibious vehicle Platoon commander. “When we get the opportunity to actually have a ship, it’s priceless training.”
As each vehicle left the beach, they crashed through the waves, sending a wall of water in front of them, only to drive straight through the wall moments later. The USS Essex sat off the coast waiting to accept the vehicles at the stern.
The water movement in the amphibious vehicles took on an extra element for the assault company Marines as Australian Army Capt. Ken Semmens, a cavalry officer of Townsville, Queensland, embedded with the Marine Corps unit for RIMPAC.
“U.S. Marines are renowned worldwide for their expeditionary capabilities,” Semmens said. “It is a fantastic experience to partner with another military, especially with an extremely capable vehicle operated by extremely capable personnel.”
This was the first amphibious assault for the Australian. He made note that a lot of the tactics are the same for the different countries services, but the exposure to the mission planning and the amphibious capabilities (which he said Australia is currently developing) is invaluable to him.
“We have a in common with the tactics,” he said. “But, we still learn from each other. It’s nice to have another armor officer who has deployment experience.”
RIMPAC, the largest international maritime exercise in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands, involves 22 nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the exercise from Jun. 29 to Aug. 3. The exercise provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.