SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND, Calif -- The wind from roaring fans propels a Landing Craft Air Cushion through the ocean to ensure the arrival of Battery B, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment onto San Clemente Island, Calif. Sept. 24, 2015. This was the beginning of Supporting Arms Coordination Center Exercise for the integrated 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Squadron 1.
SACCEX is the first exercise in which the battery conducts coordinated missions with their naval and air counterparts.
After arriving at their first staging area, Battery B received their ammunition via a MV-22 Osprey from the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 Reinforced, the air combat element for the 13th MEU. The Osprey off-loaded an Internally Transportable Vehicle towing the rounds that were used during SACCEX.
“With the composition of the 13th MEU’s elements, we have a wider range of capabilities,” said Capt. Sean Wolterman, the air officer with the 13th MEU.
It was very interesting to see so many different elements come together as one, said Lance Cpl. Jerson A. Gilces, a cannoneer with Battery B.
Once the ammunition was loaded, the battery’s vehicles were assembled into a convoy and the battery quickly made it to the area of operations where they conduct live-fire missions.
The Marines and sailors of the battery quickly spotted the naval vessel and attack helicopter firing on the same objective as them.
Seeing the ship fire at the same area we were targeting left me in awe, said Lance Cpl. Travis Capps, an ammo chief with the battery.
As the battery continued their suppressive fire on the objective into the wee hours of the night, they were supported by their mortar brothers, who fired illumination rounds into the sky in order to maintain sight of the objective.
“I did not expect to see a ship assaulting the same objective as us,” said Sgt. Rudy J. Rodriguez II, a section chief with the battery, “let alone attack helicopters.”
The combination of the ground combat element, air combat element and logistic combat element along with the ARG has made the PHIBRON-MEU team a force in readiness.
As the Marines and sailors of the 13th MEU re-embarked the USS New Orleans, they had received their first taste of working as a cohesive unit with PHIBRON 1. As SACCEX comes to a close, the 13th MEU, slated for two more at-sea periods with their naval counterparts, continues to further strengthen the rope that is the PHIBRON-MEU team.