History reveals that when a crisis occurs, the United States Navy is one of the first to arrive on the scene. This ability to accomplish a prompt and an efficient response to world events requires a great deal of training. Amphibious Squadron Three (CPR3) recently participated in such a training event: Exercise Dawn Blitz. Exercise Dawn Blitz was a training event where naval personnel had the opportunity to conduct amphibious operations in a training environment to help ensure the United States Navy and Marine Corps can respond to a crisis on short notice.
Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG 3) and 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade (I MEB) conducted Exercise Dawn Blitz off the coast of Camp Pendleton, CA from 28th September to 3rd October 2011. Over 1100 personnel from the Navy and Marine Corps team participated in Dawn Blitz. USN units that participated included ESG 3, CPR 3, USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6), USS RUSHMORE (LSD 47), Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, and Naval Beach Group 1. The I MEB, 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, and Marine Aircraft Group 16 were participating Marine units. ESG 3 and I MEB embarked in USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) to execute command and control of this combined surface and air amphibious landing. The exercise gave Navy and Marine Corps personnel an opportunity to maintain proficiency and excellence in planning and executing amphibious operations, while reinforcing the Marine Corps’ tradition as a maritime force-in-readiness. Dawn Blitz also showcased the Navy and Marine Corps team’s ability to support amphibious operations as America’s maritime expeditionary fighting force.
Following the events of Dawn Blitz, the Commander of Amphibious Squadron Three, Captain Mark Sakaguchi said, “This was a great opportunity for Navy Sailors and Marines to work side by side to accomplish the mission and carry out training that will benefit our team when forward deployed in the future.”
Amphibious evolutions during Dawn Blitz included 41 hours of well deck operations using Air Cushion and Utility Landing Craft, and Amphibious Assault Vehicles. Flight deck operations totaled 55 hours with AV-8B jets, MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft, CH-53 and SH-60 helos. Shipboard training for Marines included vehicle driver training and small arms gun shoots. ESG 3 Staff and I MEB Command Element personnel conducted Professional Military Education and training; this included educational briefs, working groups and discussions to continue to hone the effective leadership that these two staffs provide.
Amphibious operations range from humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations in places such as New Orleans, Haiti and Pakistan to crisis response in Lebanon and the Ivory Coast to security and counterterrorism operations in the Philippines and the Horn of Africa and to be ready to conduct an amphibious assault. There is a saying in the United States military that goes, “We train the way we fight because we fight the way we train.” The vigorous training that the Navy and Marine Corps experience includes complex exercises such as Dawn Blitz so that they can stay at their full potential as first responding units to any crisis around the world.