U.S. Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and other U.S. forces joined Gulf Cooperation Council nations and other international partners in an amphibious landing scenario here March 23-25 during Exercise Eagle Resolve.
The scenario was a combined assault comprised of U.S., Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar ground and air platforms. The event brought together several aspects of combat, from tactics to higher-headquarters and interagency coordination. At the end, the event served to allow participants to address security challenges in a low-risk environment.
“Each country has the ability to make inputs and adjust this exercise to develop it exactly how they want—depending on what they’re most concerned about—and this is the culmination of it,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Rick Mattson, U.S. Central Command director of exercises and training and the U.S. director for Eagle Resolve, which runs through this month.
Mattson said the training showed how far this coalition has come since planning began more than a year ago, but also how well the host nation’s government agencies came together.
“This is the first time we’ve done that. We’re much stronger as a group,” he said.
The amphibious landing scenario consisted of simulated attacks, complete with preparation fires on the beach from U.S. Navy aircraft and Kuwaiti attack helicopters. U.S. Marine amphibious assault vehicles from the 24th MEU’s ground combat element and landing craft from the U.S. Navy’s USS Fort McHenry off the coast joined hovercraft from Kuwait’s Navy to launch a host of dismounted troops from five nations ashore.
“This is a complex mission,” said Capt. Bryceson Tenold, commanding officer of Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 24th MEU. “Integrating surface craft, air assets and ground forces requires considerable planning and coordination.”
The scenario demonstrated how to integrate each nation’s strengths into a single mission, he said.
Two days of rehearsals culminated March 25 when the forces landed on the beach in front of a crowd of senior civilian and military leaders, including the Kuwaiti defense minister.
“Practice makes perfect,” said Cpl. Miguel Ordonez, a squad leader with Kilo Co. “Failaka Island is a unique area and such a great place to train. On top of that, it’s not every day we get to train with our partner nations. We’re grateful to Kuwait for being such great hosts.”
In addition to the amphibious landing, Eagle Resolve also included a command post exercise, or CPX, and an upcoming senior leader seminar. The CPX focused on air defense concepts, border security operations, counterterrorism operations and consequence management procedures, which included the 24th MEU’s consequence management team. The exercise culminates with a seminar designed to allow a forum for key commanders from the U.S. and GCC to discuss military issues of regional significance. In all, about 5,500 personnel from 29 countries are participating in the exercise.
The 24th MEU will return to the ships of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group at the conclusion of Eagle Resolve and continue on their deployment, maintaining regional security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.