News: Multilateral troops conduct helo assault rehearsal
Story by Lance Cpl. James Sauter
USS ESSEX - U.S. Marines, along with troops from South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, rehearsed a helicopter-borne assault from the USS Essex (LHD-2) to Pyramid Rock on Marine Corps Base Hawaii during Rim of the Pacific 2012, July 14.
The helicopter assault on the beach was a chance for a portion of the nine-nation Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 3 to rehearse missions and integration of the ground and air combat elements, during the schedule of events phase of the maritime exercise.
“For this training scenario, we’ll be inserting troops by two waves into an unknown area while utilizing the element of surprise,” said Maj. Jeffery T. Maranette, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 ‘Pegasus’ executive officer and native of San Jose, Calif. “This rehearsal is preparation for a later mission which we’ll be inserting more troops on the ground.”
“The Air Combat Element is a vital component of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force,” Maranette said. “The ACE provides all of the aviation assets of the MAGTF which means Pegasus provides CH-53E Super Stallions as well as being an umbrella unit for other aviation elements that provide Huey and Cobra helicopters.”
Besides being a rehearsal, the assault was a key opportunity for the multilateral troops to work together and see how each other operated. Australian Cpl. Daniel T. McDevitt, reconnaissance patrol commander, 1st Royal Australian Infantry Regiment, and native of Canberra, Australia, said that working with U.S. Marines was a worthwhile experience.
“We’ve been doing a lot of training back in Australia for RIMPAC and we’ve been excited to work with the other nations here,” McDevitt said. “Today’s training went well and I’m confident in working with the Marines and other services.”
Approximately 2,200 personnel from nine nations are participating in RIMPAC as part of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 3, Combined Force Land Component Command. The CFLCC is conducting amphibious and land-based operations in order to enhance multinational and joint interoperability. More than 40 ships and submarines, 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel from 22 nations are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands.