Navy-Marine team displays expeditionary readiness
By Gunnery Sgt. Christine Polvorosa
| Marine Corps Installations Pacific | March 28, 2013
SUBIC BAY, Philippines --
The Marine Corps and Navy demonstrated the capability to generate and sustain combat power ashore during Exercise Freedom Banner 2013 with a Maritime prepositioning force off-load March 21-22 in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines.
“Freedom Banner is a (U.S. Pacific Command-directed) exercise that supports multiple countries throughout the region,” said Col. Mark J. Menotti, assistant chief of staff, G-4, supply and logistics, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “This is the first time in more than 20 years that Freedom Banner is supporting the Philippines, which gives us an opportunity to build closer ties with the Philippine armed forces.”
In less than 48 hours, more than 270 Marine Corps tactical vehicles and amphibious assault vehicles were off-loaded pier-side from the USNS 1st Lt. Jack Lummus, a maritime prepositioning ship assigned to Maritime Preposition Squadron Three.
As part of annual multilateral training Exercise Balikatan 2013, the USNS Sacagawea, a dry cargo and ammunition ship that represents the Marine Corps’ solution to sea-based logistics, will provide ship-to-shore sustainment of troops and equipment in the form of food, water, fuel, construction material, ammunition, repair parts and principle end items, such as vehicles and generators.
Unique to BK 13 will be the use of MV-22B Ospreys as ship-to-shore connectors. This will be the first time an Osprey will be used to conduct single and dual-point sling loads from a dry cargo and ammunition ship.
The MPF program supports global positioning of Marine air-ground task force and naval equipment and supplies in response to a range of military operations, from the quick and rapid buildup of combat power to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, added Menotti.
There are several phases to Freedom Banner. The off-load of cargo typically takes three to four days, followed by 15 days of reduced operations for Freedom Banner personnel while all gear and equipment are employed in humanitarian and civic assistance projects and command post and field training exercises during BK13. The final phase is the reconstitution exercise, where the equipment is surveyed, maintained and subsequently prepared for redeployment onto the maritime prepositioning ships, which are scheduled to depart at the conclusion of the exercise April 30.
“What makes Freedom Banner unique is it offers a combatant commander the ability to project a MEB anywhere in the world in a short amount of time,” said Maj. Sean M. Forester, the operations officer for G-4, supply and logistics, 3rd MEB.
By prepositioning key equipment and supplies in support of forward presence throughout the region, the Marine Corps extends its global reach in crisis response. This reduces the time and strategic lift required to complete synchronization of forces and equipment deployment in support of powerful and integrated response capabilities, Menotti added.
“Exercising this capability enables us as Marines to be a force in readiness for the Marine Corps and for America, with the power and the capability to execute any mission,” said Menotti.