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Iwo Jima ARG Completes First Phase of PMINT

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS111028-08
10/28/2011

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Scott P. Youngblood, U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs

USS IWO JIMA, At Sea (NNS) -- Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 8 and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked approximately 1,200 Marines and 1,700 Sailors to complete the first phase of PHIBRON-MEU Integrated Training (PMINT) Oct. 25 and 26.

This process involves on-loading and off-loading embarked personnel, aircraft, watercraft and vehicles between the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) including amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21).

"Here, we get a snapshot of the equipment and their personnel," said Marine Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Desiderio, Iwo Jima's combat cargo officer. "It's a training stage, so we have post-exercise evaluations after every evolution. We look at where the holes are, and we take corrective action for the next evolution."

The embarkation phase enhances operability between the Sailors and Marines and begins the process of forming a blue-green team.

"The embarkation is basically allowing us to get our feet wet and understand our own assets among the ships," said Marine Capt. Jeremey Wilkinson, MEU Battalion Landing Team operations officer. "Essentially the embarkation phase is a building block that allows us to get an idea of how we would be structured aboard a ship in order to meet a wide range of operations."

Marines flew a variety of aircraft from their Aviation Combat Element for training, including the MV-22B Osprey, the AV-8B Harrier, the AH-1 Cobra, CH-53E Super Stallion and the UH-1N Huey.

Landing craft air cushions from Assault Craft Unit 4 also transported light armored vehicles from the 24th MEU to the ARG, while amphibious assault vehicles splashed their way from the beach to the ARG.

"It's like playing the first soccer game of the season," said Desiderio. "People are all over the field until they figure out what their role is and where they should be at what time to execute what orders."

During this training period, embarked Marines will be working on their deck landing qualifications, driver training for the loading and off loading of vehicles, ship familiarization and overall team building.

Upon the completion of PMINT, the Iwo Jima ARG will continue with its remaining exercises in preparation to deploy more effectively in Spring 2012.



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