USNS Lewis and Clark completes bilateral exercise in Maldives

The following blog post was written by Ed Baxter, MSCFE Public Affairs, as USNS Lewis and Clark concluded its involvement in an exercise in Maldives, Oct. 17.

A hundred U.S. Marines boarded MSC Maritime Prepositioning Force ship USNS Lewis & Clark (T-AKE 1) today completing an 11-day, bilateral training exercise with forces from the Republic of Maldives.

During a ceremony held to mark the end of exercise Coconut Grove on the Maldives’ island of Gan earlier today, Marines from both countries paused to exchange tributes, salutes and even a few pats on the back for a job well done.

U.S. Marines from the “Alpha Raiders” of 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division trained with counterparts from the Maldivian Marine Corps in basic combat training, while, equally important, improving military-to-military relations.

An amphibious raid conducted by both nations brought the exercise to a dramatic conclusion. The exercise is held every two years in the Maldives, a vast archipelago stretching thousands of miles across the central Indian Ocean.

The exercise also provided a unique opportunity for Marines and Lewis and Clark’s complement of 53 civil service mariners to train together in deploying and redeploying cargo from the vessel—testing the ship’s logistical capabilities—a key mission for any MPF ship.

Lewis and Clark is the newest addition to MSC’s MPF fleet. Marines and civil service mariners trained together in back loading Marine Corps High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) and other supplies from a barge adjacent to the ship using the ship’s 10-ton capacity cranes. All cargo was back loaded aboard today.

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.

Read more about this exercise in the original blog post from Oct. 10, 2012.

About jfalexander