NEWS | Sept. 20, 2019

Navy, Marine Corps Achieve First in Arctic Exercise

U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SEWARD, Alaska -- Sailors and Marines from Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3 and Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Alaska successfully used a critical naval system in the Arctic region for the first time, Sept. 16, as part of Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise (AECE) 2019.

The Amphibious Bulk Liquid Transfer System (ABLTS) uses hoses to transfer bulk liquids, including fuel, oil or water, from sea to shore, as a part of the Navy’s Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) mission.

“In addition to providing maritime dominance and power projection, the U.S. Navy conducts DSCA exercises to prepare and enable us to respond to crises or natural disasters at home or abroad," said Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander of ESG 3. "Training our joint Navy and Marine Corps force to respond to crises specifically in the Arctic is an integral part of being ready to respond to any mission in the Indo-Pacific, anytime and anywhere.”

USS Comstock (LSD 45) transported the ABLTS system from San Diego to Seward, the first time the ABLTS system has been transferred by one of the Navy’s amphibious ships.

In Seward, ABLTS will pump water from a barge off the coast of Seward’s 4th of July Beach to a fuel farm on the beach. The fuel farm consists of three 20,000-gallon bags.

“If a natural disaster were to take out a costal town’s power, gas stations or drinkable water anywhere in the world, we could fill a barge and send it to the affected region,” Pringle explained. “Systems like ABLTS and our ability to transfer thousands of gallons of liquids like drinkable water or fuel are critical during contingencies, crises response or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”

Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise (AECE) is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises in 2019 that prepares joint forces to respond to crisis in the Indo-Pacific. As a whole, AECE will specifically test joint expeditionary force logistical transfer capabilities in the Arctic environment, including wet logistics over the shore, expeditionary mine countermeasures, mobile diving and salvage and an offshore petroleum discharge system. Navy and Marine Corps participants will conduct operational and tactical actions to validate Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE) and the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) concepts.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet works in close coordination with U.S. 7th Fleet to provide commanders with capable, ready assets across the spectrum of military operations in the Indo-Pacific.