MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- ‘We have an inbound LCAC’ said the sailor into the radio to inform the service members on the beach to get into their position. A few moments later, the Landing Craft Air Cushion, a massive amphibious landing craft, stormed onto Red Beach.
This was part of a training evolution conducted by Marines with Landing Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group and Assault Craft Unit 5 here, July 18-21.
ACU-5 is an amphibious unit located at Camp Pendleton, Calif. They utilize the LCAC to move vehicles, cargo and personnel from ship to shore in a timely manner. The LCAC, which is an 88-foot-over-the-beach fully amphibious craft, can carry up to 75 tons from the sea and across the beach, according to the unit’s web site.
The purpose of the 4-day training evolution was to familiarize the Marines with Maritime Prepositioning Force operations and prepare them for a future deployment with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit next summer.
Maritime Prepositioning Force operations is the placement of military units, equipment or supplies at a desalinated location to reduce reaction time, and insure timely support of service members during an operation. It is important because it enables the rapid deployment of a fully capable Marine Air Ground Task Force.
During the training, a sailor directed the LCAC as it settled onto the beach, then lowered its giant front door. The Landing Support personnel then maneuvered into position to log and receive Humvees, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected-All Terrain Vehicles and 7-ton trucks that were transported by the LCAC.
“We are doing this training so the Marines can gain familiarity with MPF offload,” said Staff Sgt. Cameron Tygett, landing support chief, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, CLR-17, 1st MLG, from Escondido, Calif. “It also gives the operators of the LCACs the chance to practice offloading and onloading.”
“Today we have vehicles from different units coming off the LCACs,” said Cpl. Joshua Ruiz, landing support specialist, Landing Support Company, CLR-17, 1st MLG. “Our goal is to take down the type of vehicles, serial numbers, how many Marines were in the vehicle, their unit and the craft it came off of. This helps keep up with how much gear and how many troops we have coming in.”
After the vehicles were taken off of the LCAC, they were directed to a staging area for training purposes. In an actual offloading situation, the vehicle and Marines would be sent to their respective unit or place of duty. Landing Support personnel serve multiple purposes on these missions.
“Our job can be involved with all aspects of the operation,” said Montes. “From the sea to the air, and on land.”