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    Defender Pacific 20 – Historic Amphibious Landing - 40th Infantry Division sets the stage for future operations

    Defender Pacific 20 – Historic Amphibious Landing - 40th Infantry Division sets the stage for future operations

    Photo By Lt. Col. Cara Kupcho | During World War II, the 40th Infantry Division also conducted numerous intense...... read more read more



    Story by Lt. Col. Cara Kupcho 

    40th Infantry Division (Mech)

    LOS ALAMITOS, California – 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Just as the 40th Infantry Division fought alongside its Korean Partners 70 years ago, the Division continues its commitment to all its allies and free, open, and economic prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

    The 40th Infantry Division recently participated in Defender Pacific 20, a joint exercise to continue its heritage of years of commitment to its partners and allies in the Pacific region.

    “The 40th Infantry Division is also the only National Guard Division left who fought in World War II in the Pacific,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Leeney, the 40th Infantry Division’s Deputy Commanding General.

    Defender Pacific 20 is a joint exercise that demonstrates strategic readiness by deploying combat credible forces across the Indo-Pacific Theater of operations.

    Due to the worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, Defender Pacific 20 went through many alternative courses of action to accommodate the constraints put on the Army’s training objectives.

    Two weeks prior to the Defender Pacific 20 exercise, the 40th Infantry Division was informed to plan and execute a 5-day “simulated” amphibious assault landing on the shores near Anchorage, Alaska.

    “We contacted Marine planners from the First Marine Expeditionary Force to help train our Staff on amphibious assault planning,” said Leeney.

    The last time the 40th Infantry Division received amphibious assault training was in World War II in preparation for Operation Downfall.

    During the World War II era, the 40th Infantry Division was aligned under the Sixth Army as the lead Division in Operation Olympic, as a part of Operation Downfall, a planned but not executed invasion of Japan scheduled for November of 1945. Prior to that, the 40th Infantry Division World War II campaign included a total of seven combat amphibious assault landings throughout the Pacific theater.

    Today, the Army must continue to operate in a joint and bilateral environment throughout its effort to sustain its theaters of operations. The Army uses the Navy’s innovative high-speed, ship-to-shore landing craft called the Landing Catamaran Landing Craft (L-CAT) for amphibious assault training. The L-CAT allows the military to move troops and equipment directly to shores, ports, and unimproved beach areas. The L-CAT and Army Watercraft vessels were both used in simulation throughout Defender Pacific 20.

    “The L-CAT can rapidly place our troops and equipment to attack the enemy,” said Leeney, “amphibious assault capability is a part of how we now fight in a multi-domain environment.”

    Now aligned under America’s First Corps, the 40th Infantry Division has built a standing relationship with The United States Army Pacific (USARPAC), as well.

    “The 40th Infantry Division has supported United States European Command in the past and is the most western Army National Guard Division, and the only Army Division that we are aware of that has trained in a virtual environment on amphibious assault landing,” said Leeney.

    The 40th Infantry Division is highly recognized by its allies in the Indo-Pacific region for its combat history on the islands of Guadalcanal, New Britain, Luzon, Panay, Negras Occidental, Mindanao, and on mainland Korea during World War II.

    “It is about the 40th Infantry Division heritage… and it is about the ability to continue to build close relationships with USARPAC and America’s First Corps because we will be the one they call on to defend the Pacific,” said Leeney.



    Date Taken: 02.07.2021
    Date Posted: 02.07.2021 18:50
    Story ID: 388558
    Location: LOS ALAMITOS, CA, US 

    Web Views: 179
    Downloads: 3