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NEWS | July 28, 2014

Republic of Korea Marines Conduct Sea-Based Operation

By Cpl. Matthew Callahan U.S. Marine

U.S. Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, teamed up with Republic of Korea Marines and attachments from the New Zealand Army to conduct a simulated assault on opposing forces provided by 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment at Kahuku Training Area, Hawaii, July 11, 2014 as part of the 2014 Rim of the Pacific exercise.

Held every two years, RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. The exercise provides a unique training opportunity that strengthens international maritime partnerships, enhances interoperability and improves the readiness of participating forces for a wide range of potential operations.

Units from participating nations were attached to Company Landing Team 1 to conduct training at KTA to implement sea-based support and field test developing technologies during the Advanced Warfighting Experiment with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.

The troops’ objective for the day was to neutralize simulated enemy forces played by U.S. Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines.

The company’s first objective was to maneuver up and through a winding and densely-vegetated hill where opposing forces kept a foothold close to CLT-1. “(The opposing force’s) primary goal is to create situations that make it as difficult as possible for the exercise forces to operate in,” said 1st Lt. Sean Rutherford, platoon commander for Alpha Battery, 1st Bn., 12th Marines, and the opposing forces controller for the Advanced Warfighting Experiment.

At KTA, Marines were only resupplied with water and meals, ready-to-eat every 24 hours, forcing them to conserve their supplies. That, in addition to a rollercoaster terrain, made for a unique training environment for the U.S. Marines and their partnering nations.

Marines with second platoon, India Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines guided the ROK Marines through the terrain to assault Radio Hill to occupy the space and conduct follow-on patrol base operations from there.

Once the ROK Marines made contact with opposing forces and eliminated the simulated threat, they immediately provided medical aid to the downed enemy combatants until Navy corpsmen arrived at the scene with the remainder of second platoon.

Once on scene, the corpsmen employed Tactical Tele-Medicine, an experimental technology that transmitted vital signs, photos and videos to the Shock Trauma Section at CLT-1’s command operations center. Tactical Tele-Medicine is part of the Advanced Warfighting Experiment portion of RIMPAC, conducted by the MCWL.

“A lot of the time, we end up using notional casualties, but here, they actually go through a full (casualtyevacuation) process, and it’s some of the best training I’ve seen so far,” said Sgt. Robert Nishnic, platoon sergeant for second platoon, India Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines. “If we take a casualty here, we bring the corpsmen up and use some of the new technology to actually send real-time information (on the casualty) back to the STS. (The TTM) sends up the most accurate kill card you could possibly do.

“All this is taking a step in the right direction as far as being able to really assess casualties,” Nishnic added. He said that from start to finish, the casualty is assessed, treated and airlifted out of the training area and onto the sea-based ship.

“At the end of the day, technology cannot take the place of the individual,” Nishnic said. “But at the same time, we need to realize we have these technologies we’re coming out with that can make us operate more efficiently.”

An added challenge to the operating forces was the use of sea-basing: the deployment, assembly, command, projection, reconstitution and redeployment of joint power from the sea without reliance on land bases within an operational area, according to U.S. Marine Corps Joint Publication 3-02 Amphibious Operations.

Nishnic said the Marine Corps is using the sea-based concept with a twist during RIMPAC. Traditionally, ships send all supplies and logistical support Marines need to shore in bulk, requiring a constant guarding of assets from the enemy.

“The new sea-basing concept is to give you only what you need to survive for that day,” Nishnic said. “It’s driven by resupplies all over the battlefield, wherever we’re at.”



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