SAN DIEGO– The amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) departed San Diego August 31 to participate in Exercise Dawn Blitz 2015.
New Orleans joins other Naval and ground forces from the United States, Japan, New Zealand and Mexico in the ten day exercise which will sharpen the troops' ability to plan and conduct an amphibious assault.
“This is a tremendous opportunity – to hone not only our traditional blue-green operations, but to also work with our allies in exercising the projecting and sustainment of combined amphibious combat power,” said Capt. Glenn Jamison, the commanding officer of USS New Orleans. “I look forward to the exercise and working with our partner nations.”
In preparation for the upcoming amphibious assault, New Orleans recovered 16 amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) off the coast of Camp Pendleton. During the raid, Sailors and Marines will work together to launch the AAVs in support of the full range of military operations as required by combatant commanders.
“This operation will allow us to project land-based power from the sea,” said First Lt. Mark Hirschman of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment (BLT 1/5). “While training, amphibious operations are often notionalized; this exercise actually has us launch from [New Orleans] via AAVs to conduct a full-scale mission on shore.”
Dawn Blitz 2015 involves Amphibious Force 3, a composite of 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Expeditionary Strike Group 3. BLT 1/5, of 1st Marine Division, is embarked aboard New Orleans and will utilize combat rubber raiding crafts (CRRC) and AAVs to conduct an amphibious landing as part of the exercise.
International participation has been incorporated to provide realistic training that leverages capabilities provided by each participant and strengthens the relationships necessary to respond to crises and protect shared interests abroad.
New Orleans is hosting roughly one hundred members of the New Zealand Army, who will be directly participating in the amphibious landing.
“It is important to practice our joint interoperability with partner nations,” said Capt. Matthew Singleton of First Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. “Practicing at exercises like these allow us to operate at greater speeds and efficiency in the littoral environment.”
Dawn Blitz 2015 will test staffs in the planning and execution of amphibious operations in a series of live training events at sea and ashore. In addition to the amphibious assault, the exercise will involve live-fire opportunities, Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) training and sea-basing operations.
For many of the participating Sailors and Marines, the exercise will provide the training critical for deployment operations.
“This is my first operation conducted from a Naval ship,” said Pfc. Jaime Garza of BLT 1/5. “The real-time integration will help us apply previous training to a real-time scenario.”
New Orleans is the second ship in Navy's San Antonio class of ships, designed to be a highly survivable and capable amphibious vessel. The fourth in the U.S. fleet to bear the name, New Orleans was commissioned in March 2007.
The ship combines 21st century amphibious shipbuilding and warfighting technologies to support current and future Marine Corps aircraft and landing craft, and is capable of taking nearly 1,200 Sailors and Marines into harm's way.
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