COMNAVBEACHGRU TWO


History

Command LogoThe first Amphibious landing took place during the Revolutionary war. On March 3, 1776 the fleet's Marines and a number of seamen under Marine Captain Nicholas splashed ashore about two miles east of Fort Montagu, one of the Bahamas Island's two forts, which they captured in a battle as "bemused as it was bloodless." After resting the night in their prize, the invasion force completed the job the next morning by taking Fort Nassau, securing the town, and arresting the British governor. By March 16, the island's military stores, with the exception of the gunpowder, were loaded and secured. The Marines and seamen who took part in the landing were then embarked, as was the governor and two of the island's key officials. The following morning the signal was given to weigh anchor, and the force returned to America.

166 years later during the early days of World War II, it quickly because apparent that the orderly flow of troops, equipment and supplies across the assault beaches was an absolutely essential element to the success of amphibious operations. It also became obvious that mass movement through the surf zone and onto the hostile shore. To accomplish this task, small units called Beach Party Teams were formed, trained at Little Creek, and deployed commencing in September of 1942. Nine Beach Party Battalions were commissioned which participated in every amphibious landing in the European and African theaters. "Operation Overlord " the Invasion of Nazi occupied Europe was the largest Amphibious landing ever to take place. Beach party teams trained at Little Creek participated in the momentous event.

Post-World War II battle analyses and organization studies formed the basis for the Chief of Naval Operations’ decisions on 19 July 1948 to commission the Navy Beach Groups as afloat commands assigned to the two Amphibious Forces. The first, Naval Beach Group TWO (NBG-2), consisted of a small headquarters section, a Construction commissioned unites were added, Boat Unit TWO, which maintained and operated the large assault landing craft for the ship to shore movement of troops and equipment, and Beach master Unit TWO (BMU-2), which maintained the special teams to control boat traffic and conduct boat salvage operations in the surf.

In 1951, the Construction Battalion assigned to NBG-2 was designated Amphibious Construction Battalion TWO (PHIBCB-2), and in 1953, the Underwater Demolition Teams were reassigned, reporting directly to the Amphibious Force Commander, but still responsible to the Beach Party Commander during landing operations. In 1960, Boat Unit TWO was renamed Assault Craft Unit TWO (ACU-2).

Over the years, NBG-2 has deployed teams and headquarters for numerous amphibious exercises and contingency operations. Two Beach Party Teams and a Group Headquarters landed and conducted operations on the beaches of Beirut during the Lebanon Crisis in 1958. The Largest and most extensive amphibious operation to take place between the Korean and Vietnam war were the landings at Lebanon . "Operation Bluebat" lasted 102 days from July 15 to Oct. 25, and involved the 6th Fleet with over 70 ships and 40,000 sailors, as well as 14,357 ground troops. The Composite Air Strike Force of Naval carrier aircraft as well as U.S. Air Force planes from the 322nd Air Division provided air support. The operation included some 8,509 Army soldiers from the 201st Logistics Command and the 24th Airborne Brigade, built around the 1st Reinforced Airborne Battle Group from Germany. And some 5,842 Marines that landed on the beach came from the 2nd Provisional Marine Force, 2nd Marine Division. The bulk fuel element provided the sole means of fuel supply for Santo Domingo during that period.

In January 1973, NBG-2 staff was disestablished and all functions were assigned to Commander Amphibious Operations Support Command, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. This gap was short-lived however, and Naval Beach Group Two was recommissioned on 1 July 1975. This reenergized Naval Beach Group included not only the traditional units (BMU-2, PHIBCB-2 and ACU-2), but also the Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group (NAVCHAPGRU), the only unit of combat stevedores in the U.S. Navy. The NAVCHAPGRU’s mission is to offload merchant ships in support of amphibious operations. Since ten, NBG-2 detachments have had a key role in disaster relief operations in Guatemala, evacuations of U.S. Antarctica, and the Indian Ocean.

NBG-2 has been involved in some unique operations close to home, providing ferry services from Little Creek to Cape Charles during those periods in 1970 and 1972 when the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was out of commission. In the winter of 1977, NBG-2 augmented by Harbor Guard in removing navigational aids damaged by severe icing conditions in inland waters.

The entire Naval Beach Group deployed to Fort Story, Virginia during the month of August 1977 and conducted around-the-clock container and barge handling operations in support of the Joint Army/Navy/Marine Corps Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) test and evaluation program. The major Navy asset developed during the JLOTS testing was the Elevated Causeway System (ELCAS) which added a new dimension in flexibility and sustainability of logistics support in amphibious operations.

On 1 March 1980, reorganization sent the NAVCHAPGRU to Service Group TWO and Naval Beach Group TWO reported to Commander, Amphibious Group TWO.

During May and June 1980, units of Naval Beach Group TWO participated with ships of Amphibious Group TWO in the Cuban Refugee Humanitarian Assistance Operations in the Straits of Florida; and from 1982 to 1984 in support of multi-national forces in Beirut, Lebanon, and " OperationUrgent Fury " the invasion of Grenada

Naval Beach Group TWO expanded its mission capabilities in 1985 when it was tasked to support the Maritime Prepositioning Ship (MPS) Program. Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) operations require the Naval Beach Group to provide a Naval Support Element (NSE) to offload equipment and supplies for Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTF) ashore. The material is prepositioned aboard forward-deployed MPS ships, and the NSE and Marine Corps personnel are flown into the objective area to move the equipment and conduct combat operations ashore. The Naval Beach Group has conducted major MPF exercises including Bold Eagle 88, Solid Shield 89, and Ahuas Tara 90 in Honduras.

In 1987, Assault Craft Unite FOUR (ACU-4) joined the Naval Beach Group and with the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC), a new Over-the-Horizon (OTH) capability was added to the Groups’ mission.

Naval Beach Group TWO Detachments, composed of elements from the four subordinate commands, regularly embark aboard the ships of amphibious ready groups (ARGs) deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Adriatic Sea, and throughout the Atlantic area from the coasts of Norway to South America to include the Caribbean Sea. From August 1990 through April 1991, detachments provided crucial support to amphibious forces for Liberia, " Operations Sharp Edge; and Desert Shield and Desert Storm " in the war against Iraq .

From January to March 1991, approximately 800 active duty and Naval Reserve personnel from Naval Beach Group TWO, its subordinate units, Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group, and Underwater Construction Team ONE deployed to the Persian Gulf as the MPF NSE in support of Operation Desert Storm. 100 Seabees of Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 departed Norfolk, Virginia, on amphibious ships bound for the Persian Gulf. While in the gulf these Seabees participated in numerous exercises with the Marines to prepare for an amphibious assault in the region. Naval Beach Group TWO efforts directly contributed to the quick end of the conflict and were recognized by the awarding of the Navy Unit Commendation, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal. Following the conflict, a Naval Beach Group TWO Detachment remained behind in Jubail, Saudi Arabia , to assist in the backload and reconfiguration of MPF ships.

In August/September 1991, NBG-2 units participated in JLOTS III technology demonstrations off Fort Story, Virginia. Tests included conducting an actual cargo offload via LCAC and the Air Cushioned Vehicle Landing Platform (ACVLP). The Stern Adapter Unit (SAU) was installed on a Self-Propelled Causeway (CSP) and tested by flexing in to both the Navy and Army Roll-on/Roll-off Discharge Facilities (RRDFs) positioned at the head of the Elevated Causeway (ELCAS) System, up onto the ELCAS for rapid discharge of vehicles. This exercise also marked the first time ELCAS was deployed on a Seabee vessel and erected in-stream. The Seabee load-out included two LCU-1610’s, four Side Loadable Warping Tugs (SLWTs), and the entire ELCAS System.

A Naval Beach Group TWO Detachment in USS PENSACOLA (LSD 38) was diverted from routine training operations in November 1991 to assist in the Haitian relief effort at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A detachment remained on-station to the end of 1991.

Throughout 1992, COMNAVBEACHGRU TWO and its units conducted routine training evolutions in support of MPF/JLOTS operations. During May, COMNAVBEACHGRU TWO units, as well as COMPHIBRON TWO, II MEF, and MPSRON ONE participated in Ocean Venture 92 Phase I, an MPF exercise conducted by USCINCLANT. Participants planned and executed MPF operations across Onslow Beach at Camp Lejeune, NC. NBG-2, NAVCHAPGRU-2, II MEF, and NMCB-2 personnel offloaded equipment in support of ground operations. From July to September of that year, NAVBEACHGRU TWO participated in Ocean Venture 92 Phase II, a USCINCLANT directed joint exercise to test and evaluate the Offshore Petroleum Discharge System (OPDS). Testing was conducted offshore at Eglin AFB, Florida in support of the JLOTS III Joint Test and Evaluation Directorate. An average of 1100 gallons of fuel per minute, 10% greater than the operational requirements was pumped ashore. More than 2.4 million gallons of fuel was received by the Army Inland Petroleum Distribution System (IPDS) and the Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Fuel System (AAFS), with no fuel spills and involving the pumping of fuel from sea to shore, and was conduced environmentally safe. During September 1992, COMNAVBEACHGRU TWO units participated in the Hurricane Andrew Disaster Relief Efforts.

Routine exercises and deployments continued throughout 1993, 1994, and 1995. Ocean Venture 1993 Phase I (MPF) was conducted at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico in May 1993; followed by Phase II (JLOTS) in June at Onslow Bay, Camp Lejeune, NC. 1995 saw the relocation and home porting of the COMPSRON ONE staff and PMSRON ONE ships to the SIXTHFLT AOR. Exercise Fuertas Defensas 95, in spite of a robust hurricane season and adverse weather conditions was conducted at Fort Story, VA, with great success. With the relocation of MPSRON ONE to the MED AOR.

The year 1996 saw three major exercises and Naval Support Element Trainings, in addition to real world contingency TWA Flight 800 salvage operations.

Two major exercises and in-theater Naval Support Element Training, in addition to another real world contingency to off load the motor vessel BOBO in Rota Spain was accomplished in 1997. Naval Beach Group TWO saw the first-ever on load and offload of the ELCAS (M) on a T-ACS and the upload and download of Beach Group craft on a Seabee ship.

The year 1998 continued to be a banner one as Beach Group TWO conducted the remainder of the backload of the BOBO and contributed immensely to Baltic Challenge and Dynamic Mix in Iskenderun Turkey. Since the Millennium , Naval Beach Group detachments have supported routine exercises and ARG deployments. Most recently, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Naval Beach Group units have participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.