ABOARD USS BATAAN, NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. -- Marines and Sailors with the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Expeditionary Strike Group 2 and Carrier Strike Group 12 along with coalition partners began Exercise Bold Alligator 2013 aboard the USS Bataan April 22.
Bold Alligator 13 is a synthetic, scenario-driven exercise designed to train staffs from each unit in an effort to continue revitalizing and improving their fundamental ability to integrate and execute large-scale operations from the sea.
The Navy-Marine Corps team consistently puts their amphibious skills to the test at the Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Ready Group levels. However, exercises like Bold Alligator 13 present opportunities to refine tactics, techniques and procedures at a much larger scale.
“This exercise offers us a tremendous opportunity to increase our amphibious proficiency at a level beyond how our routinely deployed forces operate. We’re looking to increase overall knowledge of amphibious operations, across the Navy and Marine Corps, across all ranks” said Brig. Gen. John K. Love, commanding general, 2d MEB.
Thirty commands, to include seven ships, and approximately 3,500 personnel from 16 countries and Strike Force NATO are participating in the exercise.
The scenario represents a fully operational MEB, ESG and CSG consisting of 17 amphibious ships and more than 16,000 Marines prepared to land as a crisis response force.
The scale of this operation dwarfs a standard MEU-ARG team, which includes three amphibious assault ships with approximately 2,300 Marines and 2,000 Sailors embarked.
“The Navy-Marine Corps team works phenomenally at the MEU-ARG level, but the ability to operate from a sea base at a level beyond remains critical and must be exercised to maintain amphibious proficiency and our ability to respond to crises,” said Love.
Bold Alligator is an East Coast exercise primarily focused on integrating and training staffs through a continuously updated scenario requiring constant adjustments as exercise controllers inject changes; the West Coast equivalent is Exercise Dawn Blitz, which was conducted earlier this year by 1stMEB and ESG-3.
This year’s Bold Alligator exercise, scheduled April 22 through May 2, is the third in the series of annual exercises alternating between live and synthetic to amplify training opportunities while minimizing costs. In 2012 the exercise was live with the Navy and Marine Corps operating in ships off the East Coast and conducting operations in North Carolina and Virginia.
“It is imperative that the Navy-Marine Corps team continue sustained participation in exercises such as the Bold Alligator series to continually assess, improve upon and strengthen our cohesion as an integrated force,” said Rear Adm. Ann C. Phillips, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2. “As we look toward the future, the synchronization of our efforts will be vital to achieve global security.”
The multi-national exercise has personnel from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, U.S. and other countries from around the world participating. Working in conjunction with coalition forces are military units spanning across the U.S. including Marine Corps Bases Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton, Naval Air Station Oceana, and Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads.
“Given the realities of the 21st century security environment, our coalition partners are vital participants in this exercise to align processes and understanding in order to maximize coordinated efforts,” said Phillips. “Global partnerships are critical to establishing resilient maritime forces and projecting power to ensure safe, global commerce operations across the sea.”