3rd Marines Take Action to Water, Train With AAVs

3rd Marines Take Action to Water, Train With AAVs

A U.S. Marine assigned to Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regiment, signals an amphibious assault vehicle to move alongside his own to transfer troops between the vehicles in Kaneohe Bay July 7, 2014. Photo by Cpl Matthew Callahan.

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (July 11, 2014) - Marines assigned to Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regiment, practiced amphibious assault vehicle operations, June 30, 2014.

The goal of the training was to prepare the Marines for amphibious operations in anticipation of ship-to-shore movements for Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2014.

The AAVs, are armored personnel carriers designed to transport Marines from the well decks of naval amphibious vessels to shore and beyond. They are outfitted with smoke grenade launchers to conceal movement and .50-caliber machine guns and MK19 automatic grenade launchers to provide suppressing fire for infantry Marines.

Marines new to the company used the time to sharpen their skills driving the AAVs in the ocean. "We're doing waterborne operations to ensure training and knowledge is passed down to the more junior Marines," said Cpl Chris Hoover, an AAV crew chief assigned to CAC, 3rd Marines. "This (training) ensures everyone knows their steps and standard operating procedures." 

The am tracks splashed into the bay from an entry point near the Pacific War Memorial in the morning to conduct a jetty operation, the smallest-scale training the unit conducts. A few Indonesian Marines accompanied CAC in the AAVs and observed how their U.S. Marine counterparts operated.

They studied the U.S. Marines' vehicle-towing procedures and learned about troop transfer. Combat Assault Company then practiced towing a downed vehicle. Marines maneuvered their AAVs behind each other and cross-connected the two troop carriers with rope. The towing vehicle threw their rope and the receiving track crewmembers tied it off.

Once connected, one vehicle drags the other through the water with the rear crewman and the crew chief observing the rope to make sure it was secure. This simulated a downed-vehicle tow. Combat Assault Company also has emergency plans to get personnel off an inoperable vehicle at sea.

"Let's say the track is sinking," said Cpl Kevin Valle, a CAC vehicle commander. "We go into troop transfer and open up the starboard side hatch and the vehicles are port to port side so the drivers can see each other."

Valle said the drivers position themselves a short distance from each other and coast closer until the tracks can connect and safely deliver personnel.

The company provides 3rd Marine Regiment the ability to train in an amphibious environment like ship-to-shore exercises. They also provide transportation through urban environments like the military operations in urban terrain facility at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows.

Cpl Victor Chen, an AAV crew chief assigned to CAC, 3rd Marines, said the tracks provide transportation for advancing Marines, serve as cover, provide security and point out targets for the infantrymen.

"Our job is to bring the grunts to the fight," he said.

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