MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, conducted amphibious training for the first time with sailors from Assault Craft Unit Five, Naval Beach Group One, Expeditionary Strike Group Three, at Red Beach here, Sept. 20.
The purpose of the training is to test and corroborate the units' ability to conduct tactical combat logistics patrols and amphibious operations in preparation for 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade exercises. The training consisted of approximately 80 Marines and sailors. As the Marines are schedule to transition away from desert operations, the focus is now on amphibious operations.
"It's important now because for the past 12 years, we've been focusing on desert operations and we kind of got away from the amphibious roots," said Gunnery Sgt. Charlie Collins, operations chief with motor transport company, CLB-1. "We're getting back to the amphibious roots because we need to be experts on both."
The Marines and sailors launched three waves of Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicles, loaded with essential tactical equipment.
The approximate 87-foot-long Navy LCAC vehicles have the capability to transport 75 tons of military cargo, vehicles, and personnel from ships to land at speeds of up to 40 knots.
Navy LCACs also have a hovercraft capability, which allows the vehicle to turn and travel on land as it kicks up a large cloud of dust all around it.
"With them being a Navy unit, it's a lot of coordination and making sure we're all on the same page to make sure everything goes right," Collins said. "We're all one team here and the Navy knows they're here to support us, as well as, we are here to support them."
Petty Officer Second Class Derek Williams, hospital corpsman with NBG-1, stood alongside beach-watchers, who provided communication support during the beach landing.
As an LCAC approached the shore, the beach-watchers gave the go-ahead to come on land and offload their tactical vehicles.
"We pretty much control the beach and the landing area for landing craft operations," Williams said. "Once they get here, we control the beach. We get them off the craft and get them to where they need to be in a timely manner. We make sure it's safe and make sure nobody's coming into the area of operation."
Amphibious training with Navy forces and LCACs also allows the units to develop a stronger humanitarian capability should the need arise.
The Navy LCACs allowed service members to bring supplies and aid to the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The Marines and sailors of 1st Marine Logistics Group, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade will demonstrate the humanitarian capabilities of the LCAC during San Francisco Fleet Week at San Francisco's Ocean Beach on Oct. 3.