U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (Sept. 20, 2017) — The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) successfully completed Alligator Dagger, Sept. 20.
Alligator Dagger 2017, which began Sept. 4, is an amphibious combat rehearsal with the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 15th MEU to increase proficiency and enable their forces to train for future operations within U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
The exercise included fire team operations, live-fire ranges, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), integrated amphibious operations and day and night time full mission raids in the vicinity of Djibouti.
“Alligator Dagger is an interesting event when you consider the environment in which it is conducted,” said Cmdr. Theodore Essenfeld, Pearl Harbor commanding officer. “It’s a multi-faceted combat rehearsal intended to not only engage with regional partners and maintain ARG/MEU proficiency, but to broadcast our presence to the broader region, friend and potential-adversary alike, while demonstrating the combat power for which an ARG/MEU team is known for.”
In support of Alligator Dagger, via small boat operations, landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) operations and flight deck operations, Pearl Harbor transferred more than 700 personnel, comprised of Combined Anti-Armor Teams (CAAT), 81mm Mortars Platoon, an Artillery Battery and a Logistics Combat Element.
“From a combat cargo perspective, the ship provided all necessary classes of supply that further supported the overall scheme of maneuver and several functions of logistics,” said Chief Warrant Officer Ochan Nicholas, Pearl Harbor’s combat cargo officer.
In total, 42 pieces of rolling stock, 35 containers, and 15 pieces of break bulk were transferred to
support Alligator Dagger.
“Combat rehearsals like Alligator Dagger are critical to maintaining our skills as a combat force,” said Essenfeld. “Any skill set can degrade over time. Seamanship, aviation and amphibious operations are all perishable skills that must be practiced to remain sharp. As missions and capabilities change it is important to validate our material and personnel readiness. Additionally, such rehearsals are highly visible and send a clear strategic message throughout the [region], making our presence, our capabilities, and our lethality known to all.”
Nicholas added that, since the beginning of the combat rehearsal, ARG/MEU validated their proficiency in capabilities necessary to continue conducting successful amphibious operations in the region.
“The ARG/MEU has established a presence mainly to promote freedom of navigation in commercial shipping lanes and be prepared to respond to the nations call across a broad spectrum of military capabilities by launching from over the horizon or proceeding directly to the objective,” said Nicholas.
With Alligator Dagger placing the Pearl Harbor and its crew in a position to test out their amphibious capabilities, the ship and her crew will continue on their 2017 deployment with an increased skill set; better preparing them for future missions and operations.
“Alligator Dagger was an enormous success for the entire AMA ARG/15th MEU team,” said Master Chief Thane Douglass, Pearl Harbor’s command master chief. “We were able to fully demonstrate naval integration as our blue and green teams worked together to accomplish mission requirements and maintain amphibious readiness within the ARG/MEU.”
Pearl Harbor is part of the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.
The ARG and 15th MEU provide senior U.S. military leadership and partners with a flexible force which can rapidly respond to contingencies and crises within a region. With ships, aircraft, troops and logistical equipment, the ARG/MEU is a self-contained and self-sustained task force capable of conducting a wide range of military operations including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
For more information on Pearl Harbor, visit: http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/LSD52/pages/default.aspx, https://www.facebook.com/USSPEARLHARBOR
For more information on CPR3, visit: http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/cpr3/Pages/default.aspx, https://www.facebook.com/PHIBRON3/
For more information on 15th MEU, visit: www.facebook.com/15thmarineexpeditionaryunit, www.twitter.com/15thmeuofficial, www.dvidshub.net/unit/15thmarineexpeditionaryunit
For more information on Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Expedition Brigade, visit:
http://www.tf515.marines.mil/, https://www.facebook.com/TF51.5/, https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/5MEB/?q=CTF+51