SAN DIEGO -
The waters off the coast of Camp Pendleton were home to the majority of the U.S. Navy’s west coast amphibious fleet on September 29. The BOXER amphibious ready group was returning from a scheduled deployment to the Middle East, the MAKIN ISLAND amphibious ready group was conducting her certification exercises and the BONHOMME RICHARD was participating in Exercise DAWN BLITZ. This collection of ships has not occupied the same water since 2010 and was a great opportunity for the eight ships and over 8,000 sailors and Marines involved.
Staff members from the Expeditionary Strike Group THREE USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade embarked the) an amphibious assault ship, and the USS RUSHMORE (LSD 47) an amphibious dock landing ship, to conduct a joint exercise directed by Commander Third Fleet and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force called DAWN BLITZ. This exercise was conducted to exercise staff integration between the Navy and Marine Corps team. Both ships participated and interacted with the USS CARL VINSON Carrier Strike Group in JTFX while they were off the coast of Camp Pendleton. The ESG-3 and 1st MEB commanders saw this as a perfect opportunity to exercise the blue/green team. Rear Admiral Gerard P. Hueber, the ESG-3 Commander said that this is the, "first at sea opportunity for Expeditionary Strike Group Three and 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade to exercise our Commander Amphibious Task Force and Commander Landing Force command and control responsibilities of the Amphibious Force. This Blue/Green team assembled off the coast is a testimony to our coordinated efforts and commitment to reestablish our amphibious warfare core competencies at sea." The 1st MEB commander, Maj. Gen. Melvin Spiese said, "Dawn Blitz was a great chance to strengthen the Navy-Marine Corps relationship, and allowed 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade the ability to practice the skills it takes to remain ready to perform amphibious operations anywhere around the globe."
The BOXARG consisting of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45) and amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20). BOXARG and commanded by Commander, Amphibious Squadron ONE, Capt. Curtis Shaub, was returning from a Western Pacific and U.S. Central Command AOR. The BOXARG provided continuous detailed planning and support to combatant commanders, fleet commanders and numerous country teams. They were operating near Camp Pendleton conducting their offload from their deployment.“I couldn’t imagine a more rewarding deployment than the one we’re returning from,” said Shaub. “Our Sailors and Marines are the finest in the world and I couldn’t be more proud of their exploits. They executed a multitude of complex tactical operations across an extremely demanding theater of operations during one of the most challenging times in our world’s history.”
The MAKIN ISLAND Amphibious Ready Group consisting of amphibious assault ship USS MAKIN ISLAND (LHD 8), amphibious dock landing ship USS PEARL HARBOR (LSD 52) and amphibious transport dock ship USS NEW ORLEANS (LPD 18) and commanded by Captain Humberto Quintanilla, Commander, Amphibious Squadron Five (PHIBRON 5), conducted amphibious assault training during certification exercise (CERTEX) off the coast of Camp Pendleton. "Our Navy and Marine Corps team plays a critical role in facilitating international maritime security cooperation. Global maritime security can only be achieved through the unity of international and regional maritime integration, awareness, and response initiatives. The safety and economic interests of the United States and our allies and partner nations depend on unimpeded trade across the world's oceans," said Quintanilla.
The Navy and Marine Corps team is the heart of amphibious operations. Exercising this blue/green team is vital to continue to provide the nation security on the high seas.