Story by PO2 David Mora on 09/18/2019Forces from Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Alaska and the United States Coast Guard conducted an amphibious landing in Adak, Alaska as a part of Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise (AECE) Sept. 18.
The event marks the first time in 30 years since the U.S. Navy has conducted amphibious operations in Adak, the last time occurring during the joint Exercise Kernal Potlatch in 1987.
"The location of Alaska is tremendously strategic when it comes to protecting the homeland," said U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer in an interview about AECE. "As climate change occurs, we have opening of sea lanes. Not only do we have to be up there to provide stability amongst all the people, we have to be up there to be make it known [the U.S. Navy] can transit those areas."
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps amphibious craft launched from the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25) and landing on the beach of Adak included Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC) and Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV). Training in Adak will include a mechanized amphibious raid, air raid and air-field seizure, patrol operations, search and rescue (SAR) training, expeditionary logistics operations and tactical re-fueling operations.
"Operating in Adak for the first time in decades is an important step for our joint force," said Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander, ESG 3. "Adak's austere littoral environment provides an ideal location to train our expeditionary naval forces to operate effectively in challenging conditions; you cannot simulate this type of environment. This training is the result of months of planning that aims to prepare our joint forces to deploy in support of homeland security and humanitarian assistance throughout Alaska, the Arctic and the entire Indo-Pacific region."
Hamilton-class High Endurance Cutter, United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Douglas Munro (WHEC-724) joined the Navy and Marine Corps for the amphibious operations in Adak, supporting search and rescue operations and securities and enforcement.
Munro is named for Coast Guardsman Douglas Albert Munro, who died in the Battle of Guadalcanal saving U.S. Marines during amphibious operations. Munro strategically placed his amphibious landing craft between a landing force of U.S. Marines and enemy gunfire, sustaining fatal wounds but recovering the trapped Marines. Munro is the only Coast Guardsman to receive the Medal of Honor for actions performed during service in the United States Coast Guard.
AECE is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises in 2019 that prepares joint forces to respond to crisis in the Indo-Pacific. As a whole, AECE will specifically test joint expeditionary force logistical transfer capabilities in the Arctic environment, including wet logistics over the shore, expeditionary mine countermeasures, mobile diving and salvage and an offshore petroleum discharge system. Navy and Marine Corps participants will conduct operational and tactical actions to validate Littoral Operations in a contested environment
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet works in close coordination with U.S. 7th Fleet to provide commanders with capable, ready assets across the spectrum of military operations in the Indo-Pacific.
For more news from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/c3f/.