MCB HAWAII --
What was a typical sunny Hawaiian day at Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Pyramid Rock Beach turned into an all-out-assault Monday when Kaneohe-based 3rd Regiment Marines and soldiers of Company B, 2nd Battalion, of the Royal Australian Regiment stormed its sands in 17-ton, Amphibious Assault Vehicles while performing landing exercises for the Rim of the Pacific Exercise.
The AAVs came across the Pacific from 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California.
More than 100 Marines and Australian soldiers assaulted through the beach to attain or maintain proficiency in amphibious operations.
“Marines are amphibious by nature,” said Sgt. Travis Bailey, a section leader for the 3rd AABn. “It’s good to have a chance to come out and get back to what we were trained to do, and maintain proficiency in our [Military Occupational Specialty].”
The battalion has been used as infantry since the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, added the Boston’s South Addley suburb native.
These vehicles, although not a primary tool in Afghanistan, have been used on numerous occasions.
“We support in humanitarian aid efforts like the one in Haiti,” Bailey said. “We can be [casualty evacuation], support logistically for those Marines that don’t have a chance to get to a firm base, provide the option of amphibious landings to the [Marine Air Ground Task Force] commander and, primarily, support ground infantry by bringing Marines on ship to shore.”
The Marines from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, benefited from the training.
According to Lance Cpl. Dereck Fangman, a team leader with Company E, this is the third time his squad has done this landing since last week. As a result, he said they are much better prepared for amphibious operations.
“This training is important because you never know when something could go down,” the Colesburg, Iowa native said.
A huge benefit for all those involved in RIMPAC is being embedded with other countries and working with them. Marines from 2/3 and the 3rd AABn have been working closely with the Royal Australian Regiment.
“Working with the Australians has been a dream come true,” Bailey said. “They have nothing but good things to teach us. Our tactics are similar and the unit cohesion is awesome.”
According to Australian team leader Cpl. Craig Wilson, it’s been fun for the Australians, too.
“It’s been really good working with the Marines here,” he said. “This is great amphibious training that we normally don’t get to do and it allows us to get a better feel for working alongside U.S. and coalition forces.”
Marines and RAR soldiers also took the AAVs through the middle of MCB Hawaii to the live-fire and maneuver range to practice raiding from the vehicles and platoon-sized movements, and assault a shoot house.
The Marines and RAR will continue to work together throughout RIMPAC.