MARINE CORPS SUPPORT FACILITY BLOUNT ISLAND, Fla. --
Hundreds of Marines and Sailors from II Marine Expeditionary Force and Expeditionary Strike Group 2 kicked off Maritime Prepositioning Force Exercise 20 at several locations across the globe February 7, 2020.
During MPFEX 20, II MEF Forward will command and control the MPF offload of the USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK 3010) at Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island and Naval Station Mayport, Florida, while operating as a rapidly deployable temporary command element from the U.S. 6th Fleet headquarters in Naples, Italy.
To gain proficiency directing offload and logistical operations and at demonstrating command and control from geographically disparate locations, MPF ships are strategically positioned at sea with supplies including tanks, ammunition, food, hospital equipment, petroleum equipment and spare parts for rapid generation of forces ashore when needed.
“This exercise is an important opportunity to rehearse and demonstrate our ability to rapidly deploy and build combat power and it showcases the operational flexibility of the Navy and Marine Corps team. Together we provide a unique and indispensable warfighting capability to our nation. Events like MPFEX directly support the National Defense Strategy and enhance naval integration,” said Lt. Gen. Brian D. Beaudreault, II MEF commanding general.
The sea services have been an integrated military force since their conception, with the Marine Corps being responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy. This exercise further establishes II MEF Forward’s ability to operate with a cross-functional team under 6th Fleet, sustaining and maintaining naval integration.
“To deter, we have to be relevant with our maritime component partners, as well as joint and coalition partners,” said Beaudreault. “We are demonstrating relevant capability by executing offload operations while conducting networked command and control of this exercise with multiple nodes in the U.S. tied in with Europe-based Navy partners both afloat and ashore. This is an outstanding exercise that contributes to comprehensive warfighting readiness, and it’s an exercise our Marines and Sailors are motivated to participate in.”
The 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez has been carrying its current cargo for the past three years after its use in the NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2018 in Norway. Among the cargo being offloaded there are over 400 mobile assets, vehicles and 400 containers.
"MPFEX 20 is an additional demonstration in the continuum of integration between Expeditionary Strike Group 2 and our Marine colleagues," said Rear Adm. John B. Mustin, commander, ESG-2. "This exercise is a tangible, operational demonstration of one element of our extensive capabilities, and builds upon the momentum of our Navy-Marine Corps staffs created while operating together during Trident Jupiter in Norway last fall. In that demonstration, we showcased the benefits we bring to a theater commander by creating a blended staff of Sailors and Marines, and operating as one integrated organization. In MPFEX 20, we're exercising more reps and sets together, showcasing what 700 Sailors and Marines can do in North Florida and around the world. My focus during MPFEX 20, as it is in every ESG-2 exercise or demonstration around the world, is on warfighting readiness. And the creation of a more capable, better prepared force that reflects our commitment to blue/green integration."
More than 700 Marines and Sailors are participating in the Jacksonville, Florida, portion of the exercise and conducting the MPF offload. Concurrently, Marines from 2nd Marine Logistics Group will run a Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation based out of Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Florida, to test their abilities at establishing a logistics command element headquarters, support food service operations and conduct logistics operations in a field environment.
For imagery and video of the exercise, please visit https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/MPFEX20.