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NEWS | Feb. 22, 2024

Rapid Tanto: 5th Anglico Implements Expeditionary Advance Base Operations Concepts

By Cpl. William Wallace, III MEF Information Group

Just under four nautical miles from Motobu Peninsula, Okinawa, Japan U.S. Marines with 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, traveled from Camp Hansen to Ie Shima, a remote island off the coast of Okinawa.

Working alongside Marines from 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III MIG, the team conducted training exercise Rapid Tanto, which implemented concepts of the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, outlined in the Marine Corps’ modernization.

EABs use mobile, low-signature forces that can operate from austere locations, including areas within hostile engagement areas. EABs are often self-sustaining in nature and can facilitate sea control campaigns.

During the exercise, the Marines reinforced their ability gather and share information in a communications-degraded environment. As the Indo-pacific region becomes more contested, 5th ANGLICO is increasing stability by implementing EABO concepts. During Rapid Tanto, the Marines established an EAB capable of gathering and transmitting critical information to support dynamic targeting. 3rd Intel Bn’s MST Marines employed a commercial off-the-shelf radar which can locate distant maritime activity with precision.

“The ANGLICO detachment’s primary mission for Rapid Tanto is to insert onto Ie Shima with Maritime Surveillance Teams to assist in setting up radar systems and establishing an EAB to provide maritime domain awareness, utilizing commercial and tactical assets to disseminate track data”, says Capt. Yiannis Rizos, the team lead for Rapid Tanto.

Moving from Camp Hansen to Ie Shima is an opportunity for the Marines to sustain their ability to rapidly assemble and relocate from base to a contested maritime space. The smaller and more mobile units allow rapid deployment, and disaggregation in austere unsupported locations. This reduces logistical burdens and expands the range of communication that III MIG provides to other units leading to a lighter and more expeditionary force.

During Rapid Tanto, 5th ANGLICO and 3rd Intel Bn Marines conducted multiple communication drills during the days and nights with various high frequency radios and satellite internet. These drills involved casualty evacuation 9-lines, close air support 5-lines, and standard data sharing obtained from the radar.

“If a commercial means of passing data is compromised, I need to have a contingency plan. This exercise established alternate ways to transmit data. My data is useless if I’m the only one that knows it”, explains Sgt. Guy Tobin, the Maritime Surveillance Platoon team lead.

Rapid Tanto provided advanced training to 5th ANGLICO and 3rd Intel Bn in developing accurate maritime sensing capability. During this exercise the units demonstrated their ability to act as one integrated force, capable of supporting joint maritime campaigns, and operating in an increasingly contested Indo-Pacific.


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