Photo Information

Amphibious assault vehicles, launched from the USS Rushmore, demonstrated amphibious landings as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s joint sea-basing exercise, Culebra Koa 15, May 19, 2015. Observed by local-based military and representatives from 22 countries within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the landing was made in conjunction with the inaugural U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific-hosted U.S. Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brittney Vella/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Brittney Vella

PALS-15 unites Pacific

22 May 2015 | Lance Cpl. Harley Thomas Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Local-based military members, as well as representatives from 22 countries within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, gathered to observe amphibious landings by the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, May 19, 2015.

The Amphibious Assault Vehicles and Landing Craft Air-Cushioned launched from the USS Rushmore, serving as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s joint sea-basing exercise, Culebra Koa 15. The landing was made in conjunction with the inaugural U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific-hosted U.S. Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium.

The purpose of the three-day event was to strengthen Marine Corps relations with designated allied and partner militaries interested in amphibious capability development.

Maj. Christina R. Henry, the lead planner for Southeast Asia and PALS-15 with MARFORPAC’s Plans section, said the operation was about the nations partnering for all things amphibious.

“As everybody knows, Marines are amphibious in nature,” Henry said. “We are viewed as the partner of choice for expeditionary and amphibious matters, and play an important role in this symposium because this is something we specialize in.”

Henry said the intent behind PALS-15 is to bring amphibious leaders together to discuss each nation’s goals while working with one another to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relationships through future engagements and training.

“The purpose is to build bridges and fill gaps between big nations,” she said. “We want to bring (them) together to make an amphibious network, creating opportunities to speak out about different challenges we may face or to discuss the future, whether it’s about PALS-15 or our nations’ future together. Through this, we can come together to further understand one another’s capabilities and provide or accept support from the other nations.”

Indonesian Navy Col. Halili, naval attaché to the United States, said PALS-15 is a great way to enhance partnership with neighboring nations and secure each country’s position in the Pacific.

“The symposium is very important because it allows us the chance to overcome challenges together,” Halili said. “This provides (us with) good experience and, hopefully, we are able to continue building our cooperation because of operations like this. We all need friends, and our relationships can really grow through this training.”

Halili said by working together, each country is able to benefit from PALS-15.

“We have become closer and this exercise has only enhanced our partnership,” Halili said. “By working with one another, we are able to make peace and create a sense of security within the region. It is our obligation to make our future secure and to overcome challenges as they (arise).”

Henry said as a whole, the Marine Corps has been very supportive and it has been a great experience. She also said that having transparency between countries helps to foster greater stability within the region.

“The atmosphere has been very collegial,” she said. “It’s an environment where we are all learning from each other. This gives us a chance to better understand their (skills) and helps (other nations) to further understand our amphibious capabilities.”

Some PALS-15’s focuses were to improve maritime domain awareness and interoperability, and to further develop each nation’s amphibious capabilities, Henry said.

“There is always learning to occur, especially when dealing with foreign nations,” she said. “We (were able) to learn from them and see how they typically deal with the challenges they are faced with. We would like to see PALS-15 become a recurring event so that we may continue to learn from each other and help sustain our interest in amphibious training. Through this, we can continue to share our thoughts and ideas so we may keep building relationships in order to sustain peace.”

Marine Corps Base Hawaii