CAB Marines strengthen III MEF capabilities
CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan -- The Marine Corps’ unique Combat Assault Battalion is designed to conduct and support amphibious operations by transporting surface assault elements and equipment from water-based staging areas to inland objectives.
This distinct capability was demonstrated during a battalion-wide field training exercise July 15-22 at the Central Training Area to improve and perfect the battalion’s ability to conduct close-combat engineer support, light-armored reconnaissance and limited offensive and defensive operations.
CAB supports different elements of 3rd Marine Division and III Marine Expeditionary Force throughout the Asia-Pacific region and is capable of executing a broad range of operations with its assets and personnel.
“We’re conducting this exercise using the unique aspects of CAB,” said Capt. John S. Kim, the Assault Amphibious Vehicle Company commander, CAB, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. “We are also trying to continue to refine our ability to operate as a battalion.”
CAB provides 3rd Marine Division with engineers, assault amphibious vehicle support, and light-armored reconnaissance, motor transportation, heavy-equipment and communications capabilities, as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense assets all within one unit.
“We want to show what kind of force we have,” said Staff Sgt. Michael D. McGinnis, a section leader with AAV Co. “We’re not just a landing force with AAVs. We also have our combat engineers who can get out there and set things up, and at the same time, we have LAR to show a different side with their light-armored missions vice mechanized missions.”
During the exercise, AAV Co. and LAR Co. conducted a forward passage of lines operation, which involves a force moving forward through another force’s combat positions with the intention of moving to or from contact with the enemy.
“The biggest reason for the passage of lines was to coordinate our movement between the companies,” said McGinnis. “We were able to conduct and organize our movement, so that we did not hinder each other.”
The Marines of Combat Engineer Company also performed site improvement operations at the CTA, as well as squad live-fire maneuver exercises at Range 10, near Camp Schwab.
“Engineers train to infantry standards because we support infantry units,” said Capt. Timothy G. Ernst, the Combat Engineer Co. commander. “We have to be able to do everything they can do and still do our (primary) job.”
Training the Marines and exposing them to new concepts benefits their understanding and ability to work, according to Ernst.
“When we got here the big focus for us was mission readiness, so that we can actually go out there and show our capabilities,” said McGinnis. “Coming out of the exercise, I feel confident in our ability to support the division in any kind of operation we take on.”