Story by Cpl. Eric Keenan
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment conducted an amphibious landing as part of Exercise Dawn Blitz on the beaches of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 5, 2015.
Dawn Blitz is a multinational, amphibious training exercise designed to hone the amphibious landing skills of I Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Expeditionary Strike Group Three and allies of the United States.
“One of our biggest strengths in the Marine Corps is that we can rapidly build combat power ashore,” said Capt. Joe Fontanetta, Alpha Company commander, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines.
During the exercise’s amphibious landing, Alpha Company Marines were transported by 14 amphibious assault vehicles with 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion from the USS Somerset to the shore of Camp Pendleton.
“We are able to train and learn how to deploy from a ship, come ashore, and whether it’s a combat or a humanitarian mission, we do it efficiently,” said Fontanetta.
After taking the beach, the Marines pushed further into Camp Pendleton to set up a defensive position against a simulated enemy. The Marines will be fighting this simulated enemy until the close of the exercise, Sept. 10.
“It is a coordinated effort across the battalion,” Fontanetta said. “We take one beach with a small boat company by the cover of night from over the horizon and then come in hard with a mechanized company with armor, speed and firepower. Then when [the enemy is] trying to figure out what to do, we’ve got a company flying ashore cutting off they’re lines of communications.”
This exercise is another step toward the Marine Corps strengthening and returning to its amphibious roots.
“Amphibious landings are what pays the bills for the Marine Corps,” said Gunnery Sgt. Heath Fernald, a platoon sergeant with 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion. “We’ve shown during this exercise that we are capable of splashing out from multiple amphibious ships effectively”