USNS Lewis and Clark participates in bilateral exercise in Maldives

The following blog post was written by Ed Baxter, MSCFE Public Affairs.

USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1), with over a hundred U.S. Marines aboard, began bilateral training exercise Coconut Grove in the Republic of Maldives Oct. 6. 

DIEGO GARCIA – Marines with Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment,1st Marine Division board the USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1) here Sept. 30 while in transit to the Maldives for Exercise Coconut Grove 2012, scheduled Oct. 6-16. Coconut Grove is a bilateral training exercise conducted bi-annually between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Maldivian National Defense Force. (Photo by Cpl. Isis M. Ramirez)

U.S. Marines from Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st  Marine Division are training with counterparts from the Maldivian Marine Corps in myriad of operations including jungle patrolling, convoy operations, weapons handling and marksmanship drills, military operations on urban terrain, combat lifesaving techniques and small boat operations. 

The exercise is taking place on the Maldives’ southernmost island of Gan through Oct. 16.  The Maldives is comprised of 1,192 islands spread over 35,000 square miles of the central Indian Ocean.

U.S. Marines are also training with Lewis and Clark’s complement of 53 civil service mariners in deploying cargo from ship to shore—a primary mission of any MPF ship.

Civil service mariners aboard the USNS Lewis and Clark(T-AKE-1) load a Marine Corps High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle(HMMWV) onto a ferryboat here Oct. 1. The ship is the newest addition to the
Marine Corps’ Maritime Prepositioning Force and is currently testing its logistical capabilities. In the event of conflict, contingency operations or a humanitarian crisis, the ship can respond quickly to deliver its cargo in support of the mission. (Photo by Cpl. Isis M. Ramirez)

Lewis and Clark is the newest addition to Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron Two—comprised of up to 12 noncombatant, government-owned and chartered cargo ships which carry military equipment and supplies for rapid delivery to U.S. forces ashore in the event of a contingency or humanitarian mission.  MPS  Squadron Two is also comprised of a U.S. Navy active duty staff of ten personnel responsible for the tactical control of squadron ships.

“The exercise is designed to foster relationships and increase military-to-military cooperation between the two nations,” said Navy Capt. Calvin Slocumb, commander of MPS Squadron Two who is embarked on board Lewis and Clark for the duration of the exercise.  “Equally important, we are testing the capabilities of our newest MPF ship.”

Civil service mariners aboard the USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1) load a Marine Corps High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) onto a ferryboat here Oct. 1. The ship is the newest edition to the Maritime Prepositioning Force and is currently testing its logistical capabilities. The MPF program is a combined Navy and Marine Corps effort, helping Marines fulfill their role and responsibility as the nation’s force-in-readiness. (Photo by Cpl. Isis M. Ramirez)

To prepare for the exercise, U.S. Marines boarded Lewis and Clark at Diego Garcia’s lagoon Sept. 30. The following day, Marines and civil service mariners trained together in offloading wheeled vehicles from the ship onto a landing craft using the ship’s 10-ton capacity cranes. 

All cargo is expected to be backload aboard the ship Oct. 15.

The 689-ft., 41,000-ton Lewis and Clark was transferred from its traditional role as a Combat Logistics Force ship to MSC’s Maritime Prepositioning Force program earlier this year. The ship is designed to be flexible and has the ability to serve in a wide-range of roles to support our nation’s forces around the globe. 

 

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