CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait --
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait (March 10, 2021) – The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), embarked aboard ships of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), conducted a theater amphibious combat rehearsal (TACR) at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Jan. 28 to March 4, 2021.
The TACR exercise integrated U.S. Navy and Marine Corps assets to practice and rehearse a range of critical logistics, aviation and ground combat-related capabilities, both afloat and ashore, highlighting the expeditionary and quick-response capabilities of the MEU.
Marine Corps Sgt. Matthew Bolton, an embarkation specialist and unit movement control center chief for Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 15, 15th MEU, was part of a team that ensured the safe and timely arrival of over 1,000 troops and assets from ship to shore via landing craft, air cushions assigned to Assault Craft Unit 5.
“As an embarker, my job is to get everything off the ship, get everything where it needs to be and then track all movements beyond that,” said Bolton. “We’ve accomplished over 200 movements, supporting both the ground combat element and logistics combat element in over a dozen training areas.”
Once ashore at the Udairi Range Complex, a training area outside Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Marines and Sailors with CLB-15, 15th MEU, established a forward operating base in a matter of days with everything from a medical clinic to a full-service fuel-farm in preparation for training.
“As the CLB, we were able to execute 28 out of 34 core mission essential tasks in just under a month,” said Marine Corps 1st Lt. Adam Olson. “TACR allows commanders to have confidence in our ability to execute our core mission through tactical level planning and strategic level training.”
Once ashore, Marines and Sailors with the 15th MEU conducted a variety of vital training tasks to sustain and increase combat proficiency. Events included live-fire ranges for crew served weapons, small-arms weapons, platoon and company attacks, fire and movement rehearsals, demolition ranges, motorized maneuver training for motor transportation operators, and ordnance disposal training with explosive ordnance disposal technicians.
The MEU’s ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/4, executed training from the smallest unit levels to an entire company attack.
“We started with individual attacks and progressed all the way up to company level operations with adjacent units and attachments as well,” said Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Land, a squad leader with Charlie Company, BLT 1/4, 15th MEU.
Adjacent units included the15th MEU’s Combined Anti-Armor Teams, India Battery and Light Armored Reconnaissance Detachment. The company-level attacks were a culminating event for the entire BLT, calling upon multiple units to attack an objective together.
“We started by departing the assembly area during the day and made movement to the objective,” said Land. “Once we destroyed the enemy at the objective we then moved into a defensive posture where we prepared for a possible enemy counter attack at night. At that point we also called upon supporting units to consolidate on our position to increase our lethality against the enemy.”
With so many participants and moving pieces, Land said it was an important learning point for his Marines.
“This range helped the junior Marines understand how all of the elements of the BLT come together as one big picture," said Land. "It helps them understand when to use indirect fire on the enemy to keep their heads down."
This TACR marks the first land-based training exercise for the 15th MEU since completing similar sustainment training in Hawaii during their transit through the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations in November 2020.
Sourcing combat power ashore from a sea-based platform allows the ARG/MEU to be flexible, expeditionary, and postured to shape actions across the full range of military operations in remote, marginally accessible, environments.
The 15th MEU is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.