Following Operation Desert Strike, Kuwait agreed to a nearly continuous presence of U.S. battalion task force in Kuwait. These U.S. Army Intrinsic Action rotations and U.S. Marine Corps Eager Mace rotations conduct combined training with the Kuwaiti land forces and other coalition partners. In addition, Special Operations forces conduct Iris Gold rotations to train and assist other Kuwaiti military units.
Eager Mace, a combined amphibious training exercise held with the Kuwaiti armed forces, is intended to promote interoperability and enhance cooperation and coordination between Kuwaiti military personnel and U.S. Marines and Sailors. The exercise also demonstrates the United States' commitment to the security and stability of the Gulf region.
Eager Mace 94
In 1993 Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit (MIUWU) 112, St. Louis, Missouri, deployed to Kuwait for Operation Eager Mace 94-1 and performed the initial user-assessment evaluation of Inshore Undersea Warfare's (IUW) new System Upgrade program equipment.
Eager Mace 95
The 13th MEU (SOC) began its eighth Western Pacific deployment Oct. 25, 1994, only seven months after returning to Camp Pendleton. The MEU conducted its first scheduled exercise on Okinawa, Nov. 11-13. They then sailed to the Persian Gulf and conducted three major exercises: Eager Mace in Kuwait, Nautical Mantis in Saudi Arabia and Iron Magic in the United Arab Emirates. Each of these exercises involved extensive bilateral training with the host nation.
Eager Mace 96
Helicopters from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164 brought 150 U.S. Marines ashore in Kuwait to kick-off exercise Eager Mace 96-1 with a heliborne assault in the Kuwaiti desert at Udairi Range. More than 3,900 Sailors and Marines from the USS New Orleans Amphibious Ready Group participated in the exercise which runs through Oct. 9. Although scheduled for several months, the exercise was a major part of Operation Vigilant Sentinel, the U.S. response to Iraq's recent increase in military readiness. It included a heliborne assault, and individual and unit-level training, including live-fire training that will allow Kuwaiti soldiers and U.S. Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) to work side-by-side. The ARG consists of USS New Orleans, the flagship for Commander, Amphibious Squadron 7; USS Mount Vernon; USS Juneau and USS Comstock -- all homeported in San Diego; and the 11th MEU(SOC) which includes Battalion Landing Team 2/1, MEU Service Support Group 11, stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164 from Tustin, Calif. (U.S. Naval Forces Central Command).
Eager Mace 97
USS Cleveland (LPD 7) and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) completed Exercise Eager Mace 97-1 with the armed forces of Kuwait on Jan. 25, 1997. The month-long exercise began with unloading the 11th MEU(SOC) and more than 1,000 tons of equipment at Camp Doha and the Udairi range desert training area south of the Iraqi border in Kuwait. "Unloading all this equipment (was) hard work," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Spencer B. Wheeler, of Elon College, N.C. "We started as soon as we arrived and worked from sunrise past sunset until everything was on it's way to Camp Doha." Cleveland anchored off the coast to provide logistic support for the forces ashore during the exercise. The ship played a major role in a practice non-combatant evacuation operation during Eager Mace 97-1 that tested the team's ability to rapidly move U.S. citizens and other designated personnel from hostile areas ashore to the safety of the ship at sea. About 40 people played the part of "evacuees" during the drill. A Navy LCAC carried the group to the ship where they were treated to a comprehensive tour and lunch with the crew.
Eager Mace 98
Within the framework of the Defense Cooperation Agreement between Kuwait and the United States, sailors and Marines of the U.S. Fifth Fleet (U.S. Central Command's naval component) conducted a joint, combined, amphibious, ground, air, and naval training exercise known as Eager Mace 98, from Dec. 2, 1997 to Jan. 6, 1998 with Kuwaiti armed forces. This exercise is intended to strengthen military-to-military relationships, improve readiness and interoperability between U.S. and Kuwaiti forces, enhance the ability of U.S. and Kuwaiti forces to conduct joint and combined operations, maintain proficiency in rapid employment or Marine forces forward from the sea and provide training opportunities for Kuwaiti forces. Exercise Eager Mace 98 also provides an opportunity for U.S. naval amphibious forces to exercise with Kuwaiti armed forces in Kuwait while demonstrating U.S. capability and commitment to the region. Sailors and Marines from USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Juneau (LPD 10) and USS Peleliu (LHA 5) participated in Exercise Eager Mace 98. Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit used smoke to camouflage their movement as they attack Hill #163 in Kuwait during Exercise Eager Mace 98 on Dec. 15, 1997. Exercise Eager Mace 98 had been scheduled for some time and is one of many military exercises that U.S. Central Command regularly conducts throughout the central region.
Eager Mace 99
Kuwaiti and U.S. forces and the refinement of complementary coalition warfighting capabilities, the MEU participated in Exercise Eager Mace 99, March 4 to April 4. The MEU established a self-sustaining base camp for more than 1,500 Marines and Sailors, which would allow for continuous field training opportunities and more than 250 live-fire evolutions. In addition, the MEU conducted 95 convoys covering more than 40,000 accident free miles while supporting the Marines and Sailors at the Udairi Training range, located only 15 miles from the Iraqi border. During the exercise, the 13th MEU aviation combat element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, logged more than 1,750 flight hours in support of Eager Mace Training. Throughout the exercise, the MEU participated in joint training evolutions with Army, Army Special Forces, Air Force and a number of Kuwaiti units. Exercise Eager Mace 99 culminated in a three-day MEU level joint live-fire exercise. Concurrently, the MEU fulfilled the responsibility as the forward-deployed U.S. presence in the Arabian Gulf.
Eager Mace 2000
Some 1,400 sailors and marines of the US Fifth Fleet and the 15th Marine Expenditionary Unit (MEU), conducted a joint, combined amphibious, ground, air, and naval training exercise codenamed "Eager Mace 2000", with the Kuwaiti armed forces. The April 1-25, 2000 exercise kicked off one week ahead of a planned visit by US Defense Secretary William Cohen to the region. US marines unloaded hundreds of troops and equipment on Kuwait's northern shores for the joint live-fire exercises near the Iraqi border. Air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC) carried light armored vehicles, amphibious assault vehicles and other equipment from three US ships, including the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6), in Kuwaiti territorial waters to the mainland as gunships and Cobra attack helicopters flew overhead. After offloading, the troops and equipment moved to the Udairi desert range, some 50 kilometers from the Iraqi border, for more than three weeks of live-fire exercises.
Eager Mace 01
The Marines and Sailors of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) discovered the hot, sandy desert of Kuwait was similar to Twentynine Palms, Calif. Not only because of the environment, but because the warriors could throw everything they had into Exercise Eager Mace 01 held May 12-25, 2001. It offered the opportunity to conduct live-fire training up to and including combined arms fire with maneuver. Due to a previous mishap on the range, Marines were not allowed to conduct live aviation fire; however, they integrated aviation with simulated close air support at every opportunity.
The exercise kicked off with a full amphibious offload launched from the three ships of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group. As Navy landing craft offloaded Marines across the Ash Shuwaykh pier to begin the exercise, tanks, light armored vehicles, amphibious assault vehicles, helicopters, and infantrymen deployed inland to Camp Doha, Udari Range, Falayka Island, and Ali Al Salem Air Base. The Marines from Romeo Battery, Battalion Landing Team 2/1, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) took to the desert to practice fire missions, a vital tool in the MEU's arsenal. Eager Mace 01 was the first training exercise since arriving in the Arabian Gulf Region.
Planning for the exercise began months prior to 11th MEU (SOC)'s deployment to the Arabian Gulf and involved close coordination with Commander Joint Task Force Kuwait, Commander Army Central Command Kuwait and Kuwaiti forces. Between July 2000 and May 2001, officers from the MEU visited the region and laid the groundwork for the exercise coordinating several aspects of the exercise with Kuwaiti and U.S. Army forces.
During the training period ashore, Marines conducted live-fire training at Udari Range, Military Operations in Urban Terrain training at Falayka Island, raids on Bubiyan Island, and an evacuation exercise at the International Broadcast Bureau Compound in Kuwait. In turn, aircrews and pilots from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced), the 11th MEU's Aviation Combat Element operated from Ali Al Salem Air Base. The Marines fired weapons systems including mortars, small-arms, tanks, anti-tank missiles, and crew-served weapons, making good use of the desert ranges. Each day though, the heat and winds dictated the training schedule. Temperatures reached highs of 126 degrees and Shamal winds kicked up sandstorms making it difficult for helicopters to fly and creating challenges on the ground.
Eager Mace 02
About 2,000 marines began an amphibious assault exercise in Kuwait in late September 2002. The annual exercise was scheduled to end around October 19th. The Marine exercise, initially intended to last three weeks, was cut short after the fatal shooting of one Marine and the wounding of another by terrorists. Plans to practice an evacuation operation were canceled after the Kuwaiti government requested that the Marines end the training and move back aboard their ships. On 08 October 2002 the assailants approached the exercise in a pick-up truck and fired on the Marines with small arms. The assailants were in civilian attire. The two gunmen were shot and killed by other Marines following Tuesday's attack. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the attack on Marines Oct. 8 was an act of terrorism. Lance Cpl. Antonio J. Sledd, 20, of Hillsborough, Fla., died in the attack. Lance Cpl. George R. Simpson, 21, of Dayton, Ohio, was wounded in the firefight. There were no Kuwaiti military forces on the island for this part of the exercise. In addition, 31 civilians have been taken into custody since the shooting as possible material witnesses. Kuwaiti authorities are questioning them.
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