FAILAKA ISLAND, Kuwait -- U.S. Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and other U.S. forces joined Gulf Cooperation Council nations and other international partners in an amphibious landing scenario during Exercise Eagle Resolve 2015 at Failaka Island, Kuwait, March 23-25, 2015.
The scenario was a combined assault comprised of U.S., Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar ground and air platforms. The event brought together many aspects of combat, from tactics to higher-headquarters and interagency coordination. At the end, the event served to allow participants to address security challenges in a low-risk environment. In this case, one that involved several nations.
“Each country has the ability to make inputs and adjust this exercise to develop it exactly how they want—depending on what they’re most concerned about—and this is the culmination of it,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Rick Mattson, U.S. Central Command director of exercises and training and the U.S. director for Eagle Resolve.
Mattson said the training showed how far this coalition has come since planning began over a year ago, but also how well the host nation’s government agencies came together.
“This is the first time we’ve done that. We’re much stronger as a group,” he said.
The amphibious landing scenario consisted of simulated attacks, complete with preparation fires on the beach from U.S. Navy aircraft and Kuwaiti attack helicopters. U.S. Marine Amphibious Assault Vehicles from the 24th MEU’s ground combat element and landing craft from the U.S. Navy’s USS Fort McHenry off the coast joined hovercraft from Kuwait’s Navy to launch a host of dismounted troops from five nations ashore.
“This is a complex mission,” said Capt. BrycesonTenold, the commanding officer of Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 24th MEU. “Integrating surface craft, air assets and ground forces requires considerable planning and coordination.”
The scenario demonstrated how to integrate each nation’s strengths into a single mission, he said.
Two days of rehearsals culminated March 25 when the forces landed on the beach in front of a crowd of senior civilian and military leaders, including the Kuwaiti defense minister.
“Practice makes perfect,” said Cpl. Miguel Ordonez, a squad leader with Kilo Co. “Failaka Island is a unique area and such a great place to train. On top of that, it’s not every day we get to train with our partner nations. We’re grateful to Kuwait for being such great hosts.”
In addition to the amphibious landing, Eagle Resolve consisted of a Command Post Exercise and a Senior Leader Seminar. The CPX focused on air defense concepts, border security operations, counterterrorism operations and procedures to consequence management, which included the 24th MEU’s consequence management team. The exercise ended in a seminar designed to allow key commanders from the U.S. and GCC a forum to discuss military issues of regional significance. In all, a total of around 5,000 personnel from 29 countries participated in the exercise.
Coordination proved to be the key to success—a success enjoyed by all service members. Surely, the Marines are now better prepared to join their counterparts, and now friends, in the Arabian Gulf region for any potential future missions.
The 24th MEU will return to the ships of the Iwo Jima ARG at the conclusion of Eagle Resolve and continue on their deployment, maintaining regional security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.