DJIBOUTI – After an extended period at-sea, the west coast’s forward-deployed sea-based Marine Air Ground Task Force stretched its legs for some sustainment training in Djibouti, Africa. Dec. 3-21.
The training provided the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit an opportunity to motivate its Marines and sailors by getting them off ship for some time on a water and land obstacle course, to work alongside their French counterparts, to experience a foreign culture and ultimately gain more repetitions in their respective specialties.
“Training in Djibouti allowed us to train alongside foreign forces, practice the basics and allow Marines the opportunity to experience another part of the world,” said Col. Scott D. Campbell, commanding officer, 15th MEU. “This was a truly invaluable training, helping us build on the friendships between U.S., French and Djiboutian forces.”
The 15th MEU is broken up into four elements: the Command Element, which commands and controls the major subordinate elements; the ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 3/5; the logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 15 and the aviation combat element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 (Rein.).
Battalion Landing Team 3/5, used the opportunity to train more than 150 of their Marines by completing a land and water obstacle course, conducting infantry specific training such as patrolling, immediate action drills, squad attacks, gun drills, defensive operations and a multinational exercise, Exercise Amitie, led by the French Fifth Marine Regiment and included elements from the French Foreign Legion, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Djiboutian military. Their snipers practiced urban hides, concealment and observation. Finally, their Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel Platoon prepared themselves to execute their role in recovering downed aircraft and personnel during all operations.
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 (Rein.), used the opportunity to conduct more than 400 flight hours in support of the sustainment training. This involved moving more than 1,000 troops along and more 75,000 pounds in cargo ashore. Additionally, their Marine Air Control Group Detachment set up a forward arming and refueling point on land with an air traffic control station and a command operations center.
Combat Logistics Battalion 15 provided combat service support to the Joint Task Force Enabler, which pushes communication support to the rest of the Marine Air Ground Task Force and conducted maintenance recovery operations. The Transportation Detachment practiced night driving, with beach operations and helicopter support team operations for the offload and backload. The Health Services Detachment conducted casualty evacuation training and shock trauma platoon scenarios to re-familiarize themselves with their roles as corpsmen. The Engineer Detachment conducted lightweight water purification system operations on the beach, which consisted of purifying ocean water and providing fresh water to the forces ashore. The Military Police detachment conducted quick reaction force drills, landing zone sweeps, security operations and occupancy control training.
The 15th MEU is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.