Operations Specialist First Class Rich Byrnes, an LCAC Navigator, explains a wartime landing scenario to Midshipmen.  

Silver Strand Training Complex, Coronado CA - Operations Specialist First Class Rich Byrnes, an LCAC Navigator, explains a wartime landing scenario to Midshipmen from the Naval Academy Class of 2015 while aboard an Assault Craft Unit FIVE LCAC (Photo by by LTJG Alex Cole).
Midshipmen Training Highlighted by LCAC Landing 
By Lt. Sara Everett 
Coronado, CA - Four units from Naval Beach Group ONE organized a special training event at the Silver Strand Training Complex (SSTC) located near Highway 75 in Coronado, Calif., June 27 for midshipmen of the Naval Academy Class of 2015.
Midshipmen toured various static displays on the beach which were presented by Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1, Beach Master Unit (BMU) 1, and Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1. These future officers had access to four types of top-of-the-line tactical vehicles, as well as interacted with the officer and enlisted crews.
Midshipman Second Class Madeline Zell of Severna Park, Md., who is contemplating a career in Surface Warfare, said she was impressed by the operational range of amphibious warfare.
“I really liked seeing all the vehicles, and I think the best part was hearing the officers talk about their pipelines and how they got here. There are a lot of different opportunities for Surface Warfare Officers.”
In addition to the static displays, a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) from ACU 5 conducted a live landing demonstration for the midshipmen training. The hovercraft and its crew completed a 54-nautical mile trip, which began at the LCAC’s home at MCB Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif., before arriving on the Silver Strand beach, where the Midshipmen were invited onboard. The hovercraft’s Craftmaster, Operations Specialist Senior Chief Michael Surette of Boston, was thankful foggy weather conditions cleared in time to conduct the demonstration.
“This exposure is very important for these future Officers, and it had a big impact on their understanding of the Navy’s amphibious warfare capabilities,” he said.
Midshipman Second Class Thomas Buckley, also of Boston, took away a lot of information from the training. Stepping off the LCAC, he reflected on the day. “My favorite thing was being exposed to this community and talking to all the people in it. I really did not know much about amphibious warfare, and I am really intrigued and interested in what the Sailors and Officers do. Seeing all the vehicles, especially the LCAC, really made an impression on me.”
Thursday’s training event was a part of Naval Beach Group ONE’s summer-long training series for Midshipmen. Amphibious warfare training has been held nearly every Thursday at SSTC to bring ROTC and Naval Academy Midshipmen closer to the amphibious warfare community.
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