Maraine Corps Air Ground Combat Center --
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment stormed the Combat Center’s Range 400 in 35 CH-53E Super Stallions and MV-22 Ospreys in a helicopterborne raid part of 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigades Exercise Dawn Blitz, June 21.
Dawn Blitz 2013 is a multinational exercise that the Navy and Marine Corps use to enhance their amphibious expeditionary tactics, techniques and procedures. The bilateral exercise represents the Navy and Marine Corps’ ongoing efforts to meet the challenges of future conflicts, overseas contingency operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster response and homeland defense. Canada, Japan and New Zealand are also participating in the exercise.
Hundreds of Marines based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., crammed into aircraft that would perform one of the largest air assaults in recent history. More than 35 aircraft transported 300 Marines from MCB Camp Pendleton to the Combat Center.
“I think this is the first time a battalion helo lift or air assault has happened since about 2004,” said Lt. Col. Cory Moran, 2/1 commanding officer. “This is something that I have been looking forward to since it’s been on the radar screen. It’s a great capability to do. Not that many people can say that they’ve been able to accomplish a battalion air assault.”
Assaults like this give the ground combat element a surge of manpower that can turn the tide in a battle. It gives the Marine Air Ground Task Force the ability to touch anything in the battlefield with an infantry battalion. The infantry combines with the air combat element to make this kind of attack possible.
“MAG-16’s participation in Dawn Blitz 2013 is significant on multiple levels,” said Col. Patrick A. Gramuglia, MAG-16 commanding officer. “This type of mission is the foundation of Marine Corps aviation and provides realistic and relevant training necessary for effective global crisis response.”
The landings were conducted by a continuous stream of aircraft, delivering a battalion helicopterborne assault force to the point of friction in just one wave.
The battalion traveled to the Combat Center to work on their offensive operation skills. The unit landed in the Range 400 series of the Combat Center’s training area. There, they worked their way up from live-fire platoon-sized attacks all the way to company-sized attacks.
“One of our essential tasks is to be able to execute supported company attacks and this is a great opportunity to do that,” Moran said. “It allows us to project a battalion’s worth of firepower anywhere within the (I Marine Expeditionary Force) area of influence. This will get us into a good point when we go to (the Integrated Training Exercise) in a couple of months.”
The integration of the GCE and ACE is integral in the performance of a MAGTF and air assault of this caliber.
“MAG-16 and all their squadrons that supported us, did a great job,” Moran said. “Every one of those guys are professional, capable and they happen to fly aircraft.”