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U.S. Marines and Navy Sailors conduct external lifts for a vertical replenishment of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Naval Base Guam, Feb. 25.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Moises Rodriguez

Hagåtña Fury 21 | CLR-3 Marines put ‘Fight Now’ concept to the test

2 Mar 2021 | 1st Lt. Jonathan Coronel The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

During exercise Hagåtña Fury 21, Marines and Sailors with Combat Logistics Regiment 3 honed expeditionary advanced base operations and distributed maritime operations capabilities across U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, alongside elements of 3d Marine Division and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, from February 18 to March 1.

The overall operation was designed to test CLR-3’s ability to conduct distributed command and control of forces providing EABO sustainment across INDOPACOM via a robust communications network, while executing various mission profiles in support of III Marine Expeditionary Force “Fight Now” concepts. During the exercise, CLR-3 simultaneously conducted command and control of forces from 3d Landing Support Battalion, 3d Transportation Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, and Combat Logistics Battalion 3, to include Marine Air-Ground Task Force enablers, across Hawaii, Guam, and Okinawa.

The operation began with the deployment of a composite task force of 3d MLG, 3D MARDIV, and 1st MAW logistics enablers, led by CLR-3, to Naval Base Guam for a Maritime Prepositioning Force offload of the Bob-Hope class vehicle cargo ship USNS Pililaau (T-AKR-304) alongside Sailors with Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One and Navy Beach Group One. This offload demonstrated the ability to build combat power ashore to push forward to key maritime terrain across the Indo-Pacific.

“This training allows Marines to execute a full mission rehearsal and offload procedures and ensures the Marines have the training and the proficiency needed should we have an operation where Maritime Prepositioning Force assets will be required to execute their mission,” said Capt. John Bub, Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron 3 commodore.

While CLR-3 executed offload operations and command and control from Guam, simultaneous operations occurred across various remote island locations around Okinawa. Marines from 3d Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment and 3d Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment, executed aerial assaults on Ukibaru Island and Ie Shima via MV-22 Ospreys and CH-53E Super Stallions in order to seize key maritime terrain. In doing so, they demonstrated the capability to seize and defend remote island terrain and existing airfields in support of follow-on operations.

“Hagåtña Fury enabled us to continue to build on the MAGTF and joint integration and training we started in previous home-grown exercises." Col. Travis Gaines, commanding officer of CLR-3

With the seizure of Ie Shima and Ukibaru complete, Marines with 3d LSB, 3d TSB, Marine Air Control Squadron 4, and Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 quickly established forward arming and refueling points to support 1st MAW flight operations for both attack and assault support aircraft. On Ukibaru, Marines also executed a beach landing site survey to assess the feasibility of bringing landing forces ashore for future operations. On Ie Shima, the combat logistics detachment and support squadron additionally conducted aerial delivery operations to establish a second FARP, and sustained the force with their water purification capability.

“Our actions on Ukibaru and Ie Shima demonstrate our ability to establish, operate, and maintain expeditionary advance bases in support of naval forces by integrating all elements of the MAGTF,” said Maj. Sean Day, operations officer for Combat Logistics Regiment 3. “Training to these types of distributed operations with multi-functional logistics detachments enables us to experiment with and improve our ‘Fight Now’ force while also determining how to best sustain forces from rear areas to forward areas.”

Throughout the execution of the exercise, elements of CLR-3, 3d MARDIV, and 1st MAW also executed a variety of additional real-world operations and training events, to include integration with Naval Beach Detachment Sailors to conduct vertical replenishment operations in support of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, live-fire ranges, helicopter support team lifts of bulk fuel and heavy equipment, aerial delivery of sustainment and personnel jumps, and motor transportation skills courses in training areas on Okinawa, ensuring that they maintained proficiency and lethality as a combat logistics unit.

With command and control split between CLR-3’s headquarters on Camp Foster and their forward combat operations center in Guam, leadership used the exercise as an opportunity to practice what real-world dispersed operations would look like in the dynamic area of operations that is the Indo-Pacific.

“Hagåtña Fury enabled us to continue to build on the MAGTF and joint integration and training we started in previous home-grown exercises. This type of training, allowing us to experiment with truly distributed operations, is key to ensuring that we build and continuously test the ‘Fight Now’ force in III MEF,” said Col. Travis Gaines, commanding officer of CLR-3. “I am proud of what these Marines and Sailors accomplished because it demonstrates our ability to support the build-up of key capability sets in the rear logistics support area while simultaneously establishing and sustaining expeditionary advance bases in support of 7th Fleet sea denial operations.”

3d MLG, based out of Okinawa, Japan, is a forward-deployed combat unit that serves as III Marine Expeditionary Force’s comprehensive logistics and combat service support backbone for operations throughout the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility.