MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
In an effort to prepare for an upcoming deployment to the Mediterranean, Marines and sailors with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit practiced loading tactical vehicles on and off a Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion platform, March 11, 2011, at Onslow Beach, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
The LCAC, a vessel with an inflatable hull and a set of massive propellers, viciously chopped through the surf as it approached the beach, where Marines and sailors waited to load vehicles aboard the hovercraft.
Marines from the MEU’s Command Element, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and Combat Logistics Battalion 22 participated in the unique training designed to train vehicle operators how to safely embark the landing craft and properly secure vehicles to the vessel.
The landing support section of CLB 22 also benefited from the training by coordinating the operation, ensuring all facets of the evolution were meticulously planned and executed. Landing support Marines provide command and control during the movement of MEU assets and personnel in an operational environment.
“We coordinate with the ship,” said Sgt. Cody L. Privette, 22, a landing support specialist and Charlotte, N.C., native. “So, we know when they are coming – how long they are staying.”
Privette said the landing support Marines also coordinate vital assets like communication and range control.
“It’s time for the Marine Corps to get back to the amphibious roots of what it used to be,” said Staff Sgt. Enrique J. Quezada, 27, the landing support operations chief and Los Angeles native.
Quezada said amphibious landings should again be at the forefront of the Marine Corps mission, and training for sea-based assault is critical to mission capability and readiness.
“We are going to move it by land, sea and air,” he said. “That’s why this training is important.”
The landing support Marines said the LCAC gives the MEU the capability to move gear and personnel in a highly efficient and effective manner.
“The fastest way to land on someone else’s beach will be on these LCACs,” Quezada emphasized.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and will continue to train and test the MEU’s ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.