USS BATAAN, At sea – Marines and sailors with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bataan Amphibious Ready Group completed the Spanish Amphibious Bilateral Landing Exercise, also known as PHIBLEX 2011, off the coast of Spain, June 29.
The exercise began June 22 and partnered 800 Spanish service members with 4,000 sailors and Marines from the 22nd and BATARG for combined joint air and amphibious operations from the sea and on the shores of Spain.
“Spanish PHIBLEX was the culmination of over six months of very deliberate planning and coordination between 22nd MEU, Sixth Fleet, U.S. Embassy in Spain, and Spanish planners that paid off over the last 10 days with some tremendously valuable military-to-military training,” said Col. Eric Steidl, commanding officer 22nd MEU. Sharing the common bond found between brothers-in-arms, we and our Spanish counterparts developed lasting relationships and took away many valuable lessons learned. This was truly a great experience and one that will be remembered for a long time. Congratulations to the Marines and sailors of 22nd MEU and BATARG for the safe and timely execution of a very dynamic and complex exercise.”
Spanish PHIBLEX was specifically developed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and develop professional relationships between the two forces.
“It was great to be out here conducting valuable training with our long-standing Spanish partners,” said Capt. Steve Yoder, commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6. “Over the past several days we’ve tested our amphibious capabilities as a bilateral team, and I could not be more proud of how each sailor and Marine performed. This was truly a graduate-level exercise, and every person rose to the challenge by accomplishing each task smoothly, safely and professionally.”
PHIBLEX 2011 took weeks of planning and coordination between the Spanish and U.S. forces.
“The planning and the decision making process was great to be a part of,” said Spanish Marine Corps Maj. Carlier Grana, operations officer, Commander Naval Group 2. “It’s always a benefit when our two countries can work together. In our current international environment emerging risks exist that make it extremely important for us to be familiar with one another.”
The bilateral training gave planners and leaders alike, a reason to laud this two-week training evolution.
“It was absolutely a success,” said Capt. Steve Koehler, USS Bataan commanding officer. “Having the opportunity to integrate with our Spanish counterparts throughout the planning and the execution of this exercise has built invaluable mutual trust and cooperation that our navies will be able to build upon for years to come. It was a tremendous experience for our sailors and Marines.”
Portions of the 10-day exercise included ship to shore movements with U.S. Navy landing craft air cushioned hovercrafts and landing craft utility boats that transported Marines and sailors, 7-ton trucks, humvees, tanks, artillery pieces and logistic support.
Bilateral training ashore included simulated fire and maneuver training with Spanish and U.S. Marine light armored reconnaissance vehicles, amphibious assault vehicles, M1A1 tanks, simulated close air support with attack helicopters, patrolling, parachute operations from MV-22B Ospreys, rappelling, counter improvised explosive device training techniques and combat medical training.
The 22nd MEU and BATARG deployed three months ahead of their original schedule to relieve the Kearsarge ARG and 26th MEU. The blue-green team conducted a wide range of integrated training throughout April to be able to arrive on station and immediately provide the combatant commander with a versatile sea-based force that can be tailored to a variety of missions.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group serving as a flexible, formidable and potent force who continues to train and improve their capability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and is comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response to a hostile environment or crisis.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, commanded by Col. Eric Steidl and comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.
To see high resolution photos, high definition videos and read more stories about the 22nd MEU training and their deployment, please visit our DVIDS Web site at www.dvidshub.net/units/22meu and our Official Web site www.marines.mil/unit/22ndMEU/Pages/welcome.aspx.
|Date Posted:||06.29.2011 10:32|
|Location:||USS BATAAN, USAFRICOM, AT SEA|
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