Photo Information

Amphibious Assault Vehicles, launched from the USS Rushmore, demonstrated amphibious landings as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s joint sea-basing exercise, Culebra Koa 15, May 19, 2015, aboard Marine Corps Training Area Bellows. Observed by local-based military and representatives from 22 countries within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the landing was made in conjunction with the inaugural U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific-hosted U.S. Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Harley Thomas

PALS-15 unites Pacific

22 May 2015 | Lance Cpl. Harley Thomas The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit demonstrated amphibious landing capabilities to service members and representatives from Indo-Pacific and Asia-Pacific region countries May 19, at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows.

The purpose of the three-day event was to strengthen Marine Corps relations with designated allied and partner militaries interested in amphibious capability development. 

The demonstration featured Assault Amphibious Vehicles and Landing Craft Air-Cushion launched from the USS Rushmore as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s joint sea-basing exercise, Culebra Koa 15. The landing was made in conjunction with the inaugural U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific-hosted U.S. Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium.

The 15th MEU showcased amphibious vehicle landings to spur interest in their amphibious capabilities, according to Maj. Christina R. Henry, the lead planner for Southeast Asia and PALS-15 with MARFORPAC’s Plans section.

“As everybody knows, Marines are amphibious in nature,” said Henry. “We are viewed as the partner of choice for expeditionary and amphibious matters, and play an important role in this symposium because this is something we specialize in.”

The intent behind PALS-15 is to bring amphibious leaders together to discuss each nation’s goals while working with one another to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relationships through future engagements and training.

“The purpose is to build bridges and fill gaps between big nations,” said Henry. “We want to bring (them) together to make an amphibious network, creating opportunities to speak out about different challenges we may face or to discuss the future, whether it’s about PALS-15 or our nations’ future together. Through this, we can come together to further understand one another’s capabilities and provide or accept support from the other nations.”

The symposium is a great way to enhance partnership with neighboring nations and secure each country’s position in the Pacific, according to Indonesian Navy Col. Halili, naval attaché to the United States.

“The symposium is very important because it allows us the chance to overcome challenges together,” said Halili. “This provides (us with) good experience and, hopefully, we are able to continue building our cooperation because of operations like this. We all need friends, and our relationships can really grow through this training.

“We have become closer and this exercise has only enhanced our partnership,” said Halili. “By working with one another, we are able to make peace and create a sense of security within the region. It is our obligation to make our future secure and to overcome challenges as they (arise).”

As a whole, the Marine Corps has been very supportive and it has been a great experience. Having transparency between countries helps to foster greater stability within the region, according to Henry.

“The atmosphere has been very collegial,” said Henry. “It’s an environment where we are all learning from each other. This gives us a chance to better understand their (skills) and helps (other nations) to further understand our amphibious capabilities.”

Some of PALS-15’s events focused on improving maritime domain awareness and interoperability, and to further develop each nation’s amphibious capabilities, according to Henry.

“There is always learning to occur, especially when dealing with foreign nations,” said Henry. “We (were able) to learn from them and see how they typically deal with the challenges they are faced with. We would like to see PALS-15 become a recurring event so that we may continue to learn from each other and help sustain our interest in amphibious training. Through this, we can continue to share our thoughts and ideas so we may keep building relationships in order to sustain peace.”