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Chief of Staff of the Royal Thai Fleet, Vice Admiral Panu Punyavirocha, left, speaks with Commandant of the Royal Thai Marine Corps, Vice Admiral Ratanah Vongsarojn, during the USPACOM Amphibious Leaders Symposium on U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 13, 2016. PALS brings together senior leaders of allied and partner nations from the Indo-Asia Pacific region to discuss key aspects of maritime/amphibious operations, capability development, crisis response, and interoperability. Twenty-two allied and partnered nations, including the U.S. are participating.

Photo by Sgt. Tia Dufour

Marines and sailors work together to demonstrate naval logistic capabilities during PALS-16

14 Jul 2016 | Cpl. Demetrius Morgan U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

For generations, nations from around the world have come together to build long lasting partnerships. Military organizations often train closely with their foreign counterparts to hone their skills and build on pre-established relationships. 

Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, continued that tradition with the second annual Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium in San Diego, Calif., July 10-14, 2016. The symposium featured military leaders representing 23 partner and allied nations, including the United States. 

PALS-16 brings together senior military leaders from nations throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region to discuss key aspects of maritime/amphibious operations, capability development, crisis response, and interoperability. 

For the first few days, service members took part in academic discussions and a Table-Top Exercise, where they coordinated plans for a simulated disaster relief mission. The TTX was designed to establish rapport between the senior leaders as they familiarized themselves with the various capabilities each nation brought to the table. 

“The primary goal of PALS is to bring as many nations as possible together who are interested in developing amphibious capabilities,” said Lt. Gen. John Toolan, the commanding general of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. “They then get the opportunity to share ideas and walk away with new ways to train for those amphibious capabilities.” 
Although Marines and Sailors constantly train to keep their skills and competencies sharp, learning from others and sharing tactics with allied nations is an essential component to further develop amphibious capabilities. 

“Closer military bonds gives us an opportunity to know each other and know our capabilities,” said Toolan. “It allows us to really come to terms with all the constraints and restraints that are evident in operations and you can only do that by being in the moment, being there and doing what needs to get done.”

After the academic discussions and TTX, the participants were given the opportunity to witness navel logistics integration first hand. 

The sea-basing and amphibious landing demonstration consisted of the USNS John Glenn and USNS GySgt. Fred W. Stockham connecting decks or going ‘skin-to-skin’ in order to transport vehicles, troops or other assets from the USNS Stockham to the USNS John Glenn before launching Landing Craft Air Cushions to transport assets ashore. The USNS John Glenn is capable of submerging its deck in order to allow the LCACs to come aboard. 

“The demonstration was really impressive,” said Rear Adm. David A. Hardy, General Commandant of the Chilean Marine Corps. “Seeing how the Navy and Marine Corps can work together and move all this equipment from the sea is really remarkable and it’s something that definitely has to be seen.”

Exercises like PALS are a key way to hone and maintain amphibious capabilities while building lasting professional relationships with military leaders from around the world.

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