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NEWS | July 3, 2024

15th MEU, USS Somerset join partner nations at 29th Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC)

By 1st Lt. Robert Nanna, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet

Nearly 1,400 U.S. Marines assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Sailors assigned to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25) will participate in the 29th biennial Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2024 from June 27 to Aug. 1, around the Hawaiian Islands.

Participants will base operations on the island of Oahu, with many disembarking USS Somerset.

Initiated in 1971, RIMPAC is the largest international maritime exercise. This year's iteration will include 29 nations, 40 surface ships, more than 150 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel.

“For the first five months of our deployment we traveled all over the Indo-Pacific, conducting training with great partners. Now it’s our turn to be the hosts,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Lindsay Mathwick, commanding officer of Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th MEU, and commander of troops aboard Somerset. “At RIMPAC, we will apply lessons learned throughout our deployment, in our largest exercise yet, truly challenging our ability to operate as a combined, joint force across a wide array of military training scenarios.”

RIMPAC 2024 aims to provide realistic training that enhances participants’ ability to efficiently plan and integrate complex joint maritime operations using both live and virtual environments. The exercise fosters a network of prepared partners, strengthening collective forces to support a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Training will be separated into three phases: harbor phase, force integration training phase, and tactical training phase.

The harbor phase will concentrate on basic skills training packages such as land navigation, patrolling, jungle survival, and precision fires training from June 27 to July 8. In this phase, Marines and Sailors will integrate with partners and share best practices to enhance individual skills.

The force integration training (FIT) phase will emphasize combined fire team and squad-level attacks, amphibious assault operations, a close air support exercise, and crew-served weapons live-fire ranges from July 8 to 20. The FIT phase will challenge partner nations to establish and refine combined communication capabilities and standard operating procedures while operating at the unit level.

The tactical training phase will serve as the culminating event of the exercise, highlighted by a combined, joint amphibious assault, followed by stability operations, which will include training scenarios across various levels of military conflict, July 21 to 29. Partner nations will conduct planning from aboard, and across, ships, conduct ship-to-shore movement, and secure both at sea and ashore objectives.

Participating forces include three companies from Battalion Landing Team 1/5 — two air assault companies and a light armored reconnaissance company — along with a logistics platoon, a maintenance detachment from Combat Logistics Battalion 15, four CH-53E Super Stallions from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 165 (Reinforced), a reconnaissance platoon, and key personnel from the 15th MEU’s command element specializing in intelligence, communications, and information operations.

This marks the seventh RIMPAC exercise for the 15th MEU and Somerset team during its deployment to the U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleet areas of operations. The 15th MEU and Somerset team is a flexible, self-sustained crisis response force, capable of conducting a range of operations from combat to humanitarian aid and disaster relief. This team is the premier crisis-response force in the Indo-Pacific region and is currently operating in U.S. 3rd Fleet.

As an integral part of U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 3rd Fleet operates naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides realistic training necessary to flawlessly execute our Navy's timeless roles of sea control and power projection. U.S. 3rd Fleet works in close coordination with other numbered fleets to provide commanders with capable, ready forces to deploy forward and win in day-to-day competition, in crisis, and in conflict.

​For more information related to 15th MEU activities and imagery, please contact 1st Lt. Robbie Nanna, Communication Strategy and Operations Deputy, 15th MEU, at robert.nanna@usmc.mil or (760) 681-1267. For more RIMPAC 2024 information and updates, visit https://www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac/. Any additional questions or queries should be sent to rimpac.media@gmail.com.