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Marines with various units participated in Atlantic Response a week-long training exercise aboard Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue Field, N.C., Aug. 17-24, 2011. Marines in the Command Operation Center work on relearning programs and accomplishing the assigned missions.

Photo by Pfc. Phillip R. Clark

Exercise Atlantic Response brings Marines back to their roots

1 Sep 2011 | Pfc. Phillip R. Clark 2nd Marine Division

Marines with various units participated in Atlantic Response a week-long training exercise aboard Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue Field, N.C., Aug. 17-24, 2011.

Atlantic Response is a deployment exercise to develop 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade’s ability to rapidly respond to today’s emerging crises.

The exercise is a highly valued training effort centered on technology simulations – maximizing the training value while minimizing the cost. Its main purpose is designed to identify, rehearse and validate 2nd MEBs crisis response command and control capability in an austere environment.

“We’re given missions from the simulation center at Camp Lejeune, then once assigned, we have to act accordingly to the mission. Tactical recovery of personnel, resupply and evacuate are a few of the missions that get sent to us,” said Col. Thomas R. McCarthy, 2nd MEB’s Operation Officer. “We do these missions to setup a standard operating procedure so when Bold Alligator comes along next year we have procedures on what to do when something happens.”

Exercise Bold Alligator is a live, simulated deployment of Marines to react to a mission or crisis that has happened or will occur. It will be the first operation of its kind that has happened in the past ten years.

“We are getting our tools and procedures down now and getting used to the actions that need to take place so when Bold Alligator gets here we can deploy the Marines and handle the mission appropriately,” said McCarthy. “This is getting us back to our core, back to our roots. Marines are amphibious, and the purpose of this training is to get us back to our amphibious operations.”

There are several challenges the Marines have had to face so far, especially since an exercise this big hasn’t been performed in ten years. One of these consists of relearning to operate programs and procedures for missions that occur, but the challenges are easily handled now that they are getting into the routine of what needs to get done.

“Our biggest challenge is getting back into that routine of being amphibious since it’s something we haven’t done in a long time. There are a lot of Marines nowadays that have never even been on a ship before,” said McCarthy. “But we are working hard with our naval counterparts to get Marines on ships and to train them in procedures because training like this is very critical.”

A part of the training involves imaginary borders and countries that Marines have to simulate their missions in.

“Our bread and butter is amphibious operations,” said Master Sgt. Keith Rhoades, the operations chief with 2nd MEB. “The general public sees what we are doing in Afghanistan and what we did in Iraq, but sea to land assaults and operations bring us back to our roots and what Marines are all about.”

Exercise Atlantic Response is serving to prepare for exercise Bold Alligator 2012 which will be in late January to early February 2012 and will be the largest combined joint amphibious training exercise conducted on the eastern seaboard in the past ten years. Exercises Atlantic Response and Bold Alligator both support the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ intent to revitalize the Marine Corps’ amphibious warfare proficiency, which remains one of II Marine Expeditionary Force’s top priorities.