MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division embarked
aboard the USS Somerset and executed a complex amphibious assault on the shores
of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Dec. 4, 2015.
Steel Knight is a division-wide training evolution, which provides realistic and
intense training to ensure the division is fully capable of operating anywhere
in the world at any given moment. The ability to conduct combat operations
serves as the staple responsibility as the ground combat element of I Marine
Expeditionary Force. Amphibious operations are seeded deeply within the Marine
Corps both historically and operationally. Maintaining these skills provides the
nation with expertise and combat power that can be projected anywhere around
“This exercise is really all about honing our capabilities as a
Marine Air Ground Task Force while with the Navy,” said Capt. Sean Leahy, the
Company B commander. “Amphibious operations are what we do; it’s what we are
Although amphibious operations are essential, it can only
work if every member of the team across the MAGTF and the amphibious Navy
executes their role effectively.
“Individual actions are really
important in these types of movements and training,” said 2nd Lt. Jesse
Villanueva, a platoon commander with the battalion. “It’s important that me and
all my Marines do their job well. If everyone at every level from the platoon
commander all the way down to that team leader, then we are going to be
During the days leading up to the assault training, Marines
rehearsed basic combat tactics and procedures, which allowed designated small
unit leaders to hone their leadership skills and for Marines as a whole to
sustain individual skillsets.
This training also focused on getting
Marines familiar with the Amphibious Assault Vehicle, which is platform
primarily utilized for sea to shore missions.
After careful coordination
and preparation, the battalion employed the tactics they had practiced during
the previous days and utilized designated attachments including military
policemen and explosive ordinance disposal Marines to secure designated areas
and perform detainee handling following the amphibious landing.
are a lot of things that come into play when executing something like this and
it requires different elements to do their job,” Leahy said. “It’s important
that everyone, including me, does their job to the best of their ability so the
mission goes as smoothly as possible.”
“First of the First” is only one
of the many elements taking part in Steel Knight and the performance of each
individual unit and each individual Marine is what will define success and set
the standard throughout the duration of this challenging exercise.