By Lt. Joseph Roach and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Morales, Naval Beach Group 1 Public Affairs
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors from Naval Beach Group (NBG) 1 and its subordinate commands, Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1, ACU 5, and Beach Master Unit (BMU) 1, conducted boat operations within a tactical environment during their annual Field Exercise at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 30 – April 10.
The beach group's primary mission is to provide ship-to-shore transportation of fuel, materials and equipment in support of expeditionary strike groups, Marine expeditionary forces and brigade-sized operations and maritime prepositioned force (MPF) operations.
The training goals of the exercise were to arrive safely in a hostile environment, eliminate enemy threats in the area of responsibility (AOR) and conduct ship-to-shore logistics in support of the notional host nation.
Basic combat skills such as camp defense planning, convoy tactics, control posts communications and casualty evacuations were tested through scenarios ranging from managing civilian protesters to defending against an all-out assault from armed insurgents.
"We got off to a rough start. 'Mother Nature' dealt a difficult hand including cold weather and rain, but once we got going, things went very well," said Lt. Andrew Cline, ACB 1 Bravo company commander.
Day and night, NBG 1 Sailors were vigilant against any possible threat to their mission.
"There were hot days and cold nights, but the training evolution was worth it," said Equipment Operator 3rd Class Sergio Alvarez, from National City, Calif.
Fighting positions and security posts were manned 24/7 according to constantly changing force protection condition levels.
"As a force protection react team member, our mission was to protect and escort the commanding officer, executive officer and operations officer to a safe haven during an assault," said Sergio.
'Enemies' launched a full scale assault on the beach group during a final protective fire scenario. All fighting positions were manned at 100 percent while 'insurgents' attempted to breach defensive lines and swarm the camp.
"The NBG-1 FEX was an eye-opening experience," Sergio added.
After enemy threats were eliminated, the beach group changed its focus to the movement of personnel and supplies without the benefit of a port, using the Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS), assault landing craft and maritime preposition force utility boats.
Though combat skills and craft operations were put to the test under unfavorable conditions, safety precautions were always monitored by 'white cell' personnel and range safety officers.
"Safety was paramount. The most dangerous scenarios were attacks on the camp at night. Safety procedures were followed 100 percent," said Engineering Aide 2nd Class Veli Hergul, a range safety officer participating in the exercise.
"The beach group field exercise provided us a unique opportunity to train both our tactical defense and amphibious missions simultaneously. The teamwork and cooperation by all units of the naval beach group working together allowed for a safe and very successful exercise," stated Capt. James O'Conner, commodore of NBG 1.
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