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    USNS Dahl Takes Part in Marines’ Freedom Banner Exercise

    U.S. Marines and Sailors Conduct A Maritime Propositioning Force Offload as Part of Exercise Freedom Banner

    Photo By Lance Cpl. bradley ahrens | U.S. Marines with 1st Landing Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group and U.S....... read more read more

    GUAM – USNS Dahl (T-AKR 312) is taking part in Freedom Banner 21, an annual maritime prepositioning force exercise, currently underway on the Islands of Guam and Tinian.

    During the exercise, Military Sealift Command’s prepositioning and sea-basing ship is supporting units from U.S. Marine Forces, Pacific Command and I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), in coordination with the 1st Marine Logistics Group (1stMLG), 1st Marine Division (1st MARDIV), and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rdMAW) who are also taking part in Freedom Banner.

    “This exercise increases our proficiency, enhances our cooperation and hones our capabilities so we can support warfighters, in this case, the United States Marine Corps, by ensuring the equipment and cargo they need are on station when and where they need it,” said Capt. John Bub, commodore, Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron 3.

    Throughout Freedom Banner, 1st MLG will exercise its ability to rapidly deploy forces and execute its logistical capabilities utilizing maritime prepositioning ships, like Dahl, while simultaneously command and control the establishment of an Expeditionary Advanced Naval Bases (EAB) on Guam. Marines from 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance, 1st Marine Division as well as 3rd MAW will establish a separate Fires EAB on the island of Tinian.

    To facilitate those efforts, just as it would during a contingency operation, Dahl delivered equipment and personnel, which were loaded onto the ship, delivered, offloaded, staged, distributed and then loaded back onto the ship at the end of the exercise.

    “U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Forces extend their logistical capabilities and conduct distributed operations, thanks to Military Sealift Command’s prepositioning force,” Bub said.

    For the Marines involved, Freedom Banner enhances readiness, helping them prepare for possible contingencies.

    “Logistics chains have operated largely unchallenged in recent years, and we have to assume that future adversaries will contest these supply chains,” said 1st Lt. Anthony B. Reyes, 1st Marine Logistics Group public affairs officer.

    “Marine Corps logisticians, working closely with Military Sealift Command, provide the Marine Corps with the ability to generate, train, deploy, execute, and sustain naval expeditionary forces to compete and deter on the 21st century battlefield.”

    Military Sealift Command Far East ensures approximately 50 ships in the Indo-Pacific region, are manned, trained and equipped to deliver essential supplies, fuel, cargo, and equipment to warfighters, both at sea and on shore.

    Task force commanders employ these ships to ensure mission accomplishment.

    COMLOG WESTPAC/CTF 73 is the U.S. 7th Fleet's provider of combat-ready logistics, operating government-owned and contracted ships that keep units throughout 7th Fleet armed, fueled and fed.

    As the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet employs 50-70 ships and submarines across the Western Pacific and Indian oceans. U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting missions to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific Region.

    Military Sealift Command is the leading provider of ocean transportation for the Navy and the rest of the Department of Defense - operating approximately 125 ships daily around the globe.

    USNS Dahl is crewed by contract mariners who help stage containerized and palletized cargo and rolling stock, including military vehicles, as needed throughout the Indo-Pacific Region.
    During exercises like Freedom Banner, they, too, receive valuable training and insightful experience.

    “Cargo handlers, beachmasters, MEFs and [civilian] mariners need to work together, communicate, and learn each other's strengths and weaknesses,” said Capt. Wilbur J. Dahn III, master of Dahl.

    “The crew gets as much experience from these exercises as the military if not more.”

    He adds that Military Sealift Command’s civil service and contract mariners can be the corporate knowledge, not only during exercises but also when operations or emerging situations dictate.

    “Some of our merchant seamen have been out here for 30 years or more. Their experience can insure that a container spreader is rigged properly on a crane hook or that there is enough food on hand to feed 150 crew and embarked personnel,” Dahn said.

    “This is all part of their knowledge base.”

    Dahn says it’s important for his crew and other Military Sealift Command civil service and contract mariners to participate in exercises like Freedom Banner. He believes newly hired mariners can retain lessons learned, start building their corporate knowledge and then share it when the more seasoned mariners decide to retire.

    “I was truly impressed with the engagement of all participants at all levels,” he said.

    “I feel everyone who participated in Freedom Banner will leave this exercise with a greater knowledge for what is needed during a time of crisis and a respect for each participant’s contribution.”



    Date Taken: 08.16.2021
    Date Posted: 08.15.2021 22:45
    Story ID: 403122
    Location: GU

    Web Views: 376
    Downloads: 2