Boxer Amphibious Ready Group finishes Exercise

EAST CHINA SEA (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG) finished their portion of Exercise Ssang Yong 2014 April 2 in the Republic of Korea (ROK).

“The exercise was a phenomenal success,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew M. Sylvia, assistant plans officer for Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 11.

Ssang Yong, which means “twin dragons” is meant to enhance the interoperability between the U.S. Marine air-ground task force and the ROK Marine task force while honing amphibious capabilities of each nation’s Navy and Marine Corps.

“For the Personnel, Mail and Cargo runs specifically, there was great coordination done between the BOXARG and the BHR ARG and folks at the beach both on the Navy side and the Marine Corps side putting the plan together to get passengers and cargo moved to where it needed to go in a timely manner to execute a successful exercise,” added Sylvia.

Together with the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and ROK ships from Flotilla 5, BOXARG participated in the annual combined exercise in order to strengthen our interoperability and working relationships across the range of military operations — from disaster relief, to complex expeditionary operations.

“The exercise went really well, it’s always dynamic when dealing with coalition forces,” said Marine Capt. Anthony Gregory, combat cargo officer for amphibious squadron (PHIBRON) 1. “A lot of moving parts, so it’s really hard to orchestrate and get all the pieces in the right place. Even though, from my side, ship to shore movement was minimal from PHIBRON 1, we still played an integral part in the ship to shore operation and the overall success of Ssang Yong.

According to Anthony, combat cargo executed the embarkation and debarkation of over 4,021 tons of equipment and 1,389 personnel in five days, including 118 AAV splashes, nine LCAC flights, and two Landing Craft Utility movements.

Another BOXARG Marine had an opportunity to work firsthand with ROK forces.

“I was sent to the ROK Navy ship Dokdo,” said Maj. Alan Thornhill, quality assurance officer for VMM-166 Reinforced. Thornhill acted as an aviation liaison officer. ‘It was interesting doing something that was a very complex exercise and now throwing the language barrier was interesting. From my perspective I think it went very well, especially considering the complexity of it and how many moving parts there were,” he added.

The scale of this year’s Ssang Yong is greater than any other in the past, proving the Navy and Marine Corps’ ability to conduct the full spectrum of a combined arms, amphibious landing operations in cooperation with our international partners. BOXARG participated in exercise Ssang Yong while on a regularly scheduled deployment.

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