CORONADO, Calif. – As the Marine Corps refocuses on its amphibious roots, Marines face the challenge of rapidly deploying crucial gear onto the shore so they can take the fight to America’s enemies.
Marines with 1st Marine Logistics Group completed Exercise Brilliant Scepter in which they on-loaded and off-loaded the USNS Bob Hope, March 5-7, using an improved navy lighterage system to ferry vehicles back and forth.
“We have an [improved navy lighterage system] that comes from the Bob Hope,” said Sgt. Stephen P. Werner, a landing support specialist with Landing Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “It beaches on the shore. We load up vehicles, and it transports the vehicles to the ship.”
The exercise involved about 50 tactical vehicles transported between the ship and the beach. The Marines with 1st MLG planned and coordinated all the movements with Naval Beach Group 1, Expeditionary Strike Group 3, Naval Forces Pacific, who was responsible for the equipment once it was on the Bob Hope.
“We split the vehicles into groups,” said Lance Cpl. Nathaniel A. Brackett, a landing support specialist with, LS. Co., 1st MLG. “Then when the landing craft arrived at the beach the vehicles were loaded onto it. After dropping them off at the Bob Hope it would come back for the next stick.”
This is the first time many of the landing support Marines have run a beach operations group. They are more accustomed to running an arrival/departure airfield control group in landlocked Afghanistan.
“[Brilliant Scepter] gets us proficient at beach operations, as well as have us formally working with the Navy. Now we understand the nomenclature of the ships we are working with and how they operate,” said Werner, 21, from Saint Michaels, Md. “This is just one more aspect of our job we need to be proficient at. Because this is our first time doing it, this is good training for all our Marines.”
The last amphibious encounter for the landing support Marines was during their initial military occupational specialty training.
“This is mainly a [landing support specialist]’s job,” said Brackett. “The way we talk to the ships, how we get the gear on, and how we get it off; it’s a learning experience.”
The training broke up the routine for many Marines. They were glad to take part in a training format that was new to them.
“I like being here. We are getting training and the opportunity to learn something new,” said Brackett, 24, from New Haven, Conn.