‘Dawn Blitz’ Amphibious Exercise Underway off Southern California

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A landing craft air cushion comes ashore in a previous Dawn Blitz exercise. Navy photo

The Navy and Marines kicked off the biennial Dawn Blitz exercise on Friday to practice an amphibious assault on the coast of Southern California.

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The exercise includes Expeditionary Strike Group 3 and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and involves the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage, amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore and guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer.

“Dawn Blitz 2017 is an excellent opportunity to operationalize concepts the Navy and Marine Corps services have been discussing for some time,” said Cmdr. Matthew Hoekstra, the lead planner for Dawn Blitz 2017. “While others continue to talk, wargame or tabletop future concepts, we are executing with live forces afloat and ashore.”

The forces involved will execute an amphibious assault, engage in live-fire events, and establish expeditionary advanced bases. For the first time, the Marines’ new F-35B Lighting II fighters and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System will be used in the exercise.

“Dawn Blitz provides crucial training for our Navy-Marine Corps team. The capability to conduct prompt and sustained amphibious operations anywhere in the world is essential to our Navy and our nation,” said Rear Adm. Cathal O’Connor, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3.

An infantry company from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force will also participate along with observers from Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico.

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