2014-10-31 The USS Arlington is a key amphibious asset being used by the USN-USMC team in the Bold Alligator 2014 exercise.
The exercise focuses on crisis response with coalition forces, and the Dutch are participating with their own amphibious ship as well
In this video, an LCAC is seen departing from the USS Arlington on the afternoon of October 31, 2014.
According to a US Fleet Forces Command release on 10/8/14:
Exercise Bold Alligator 2014 (BA14) represents the Navy and Marine Corps’ further refinement of their core competencies of amphibious operations, focus on readiness, and cooperation with multi-national partners all while strengthening their traditional role as fighters from the sea.
“Bold Alligator 2014 will allow us to strengthen our ability to conduct a full spectrum of crisis response operations coordinated from a combined command element at sea,” said Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, deputy commander, USFF. “This exercise will enhance our ability to work with our Marine Corps and multi-national maritime partners to provide high-level crisis response operations around the globe.”
Previously, Bold Alligator 2012 exercised the ability to conduct a large scale amphibious landing against strong opposition. Bold Alligator 2014 will focus on crisis response operations in a complex setting with coalition partners. The capabilities that allow amphibious forces to conduct a forcible entry against an opposing military force are the same capabilities that make it the first, best choice for crisis response, humanitarian assistance and building partnerships.
Bold Alligator 2014 will showcase American service members and coalition partners training amphibious operations in a real-world environment. Nineteen partner nations will be participating in an exercise scheduled to feature 19 U.S. Navy and coalition ships and U.S. Marines Corps units from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
“Bold Alligator 2014 provides an opportunity for the training and further development of Marine and Navy amphibious based units and their crisis response capabilities. It also provides a venue to showcase the Blue-Green team as the nation’s ‘insurance policy’ for crisis response and contingency operations,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Neller, commander, MARFORCOM.
And ABC 13 provided an overview on the exercise in a story published on October 27, 2014:
The exercise, held every other year, throws multiple crisis-response scenarios at participants, which include forces from 19 nations and 19 U.S. Navy and coalition ships. Roughly 8,000 U.S. and international Marines participate, led by the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. This force will also include Dutch, British, Canadian and Brazilian marines.
The previous exercise centered on large-scale amphibious landings against strong opposition. This year, crisis response and humanitarian assistance is the name of the game. But don’t plan on phoning this one in — organizers have plenty of hostile opposition planned. As such, the exercise includes integrated fire support for forces as they conduct forcible entries into complex and uncertain environments with coalition partners. In fact, a Dutch one-star will lead one of three task groups.
“Bold Alligator 2014 provides an opportunity for the training and further development of Marine and Navy amphibious-based units and their crisis response capabilities,” Lt. Gen. Robert Neller, commander, Marine Corps Forces Command MARFORCOM, said in a release. “It also provides a venue to showcase the Blue-Green team as the nation’s ‘insurance policy’ for crisis response and contingency operations.”
Bold Alligator hosts 22 experiments that range from the command to tactical levels, said Michael “Mort” White, who designs and organizes the training event for Carrier Strike Group 4. The response begins with a relatively new concept, the Forward Integrated Command Element. Comprising flag and general officers from Expeditionary Strike Group 2 and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and a cadre of 15 to 20 officers, the FICE lands on the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima, plants the flag and takes charge of the mission.
A joint high-speed vessel is put to the test as events unfold. The 2nd MEB used USNS Choctaw County, crewed by civilian mariners with Military Sealift Command, to transfer fuel trucks ashore. The catamaran is designed for rapid intra-theater transport of troops and equipment.
“What defines the littorals is being changed because of capabilities we have now, like the V-22 and some of our communications and command-and-control capabilities,” White said. “So Marines will find themselves going a little deeper than the shoreline on some of these missions.”Special operations forces will then use JHSV as a launch platform, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command will use it as an unmanned undersea vehicle support platform and JHSV will support Dutch riverine operations.
The Navy also uses the exercise to evaluate USNS Medgar Evers, a dry cargo/ammunition ship, as an alternate command, control, operational and logistics platform. New radios also were tested at the tactical level.
Involved in the exercise:
■ II Marine Expeditionary Force
■ 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade
■ 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit
■ Marine Air Group 29