CAMP PENDLETON - Marines and sailors stormed the sand and surf at Trestles Beach during a pre-dawn amphibious assault exercise on Sunday.
The Marines and sailors of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, conducted the simulated assault as part of a three-week multi-national training session dubbed "Exercise Dawn Blitz 2013," that is being conducted in advance of a deployment to the Western Pacific in late summer, according to 1st Lt. Dana Mitchell, public affairs officer for the 13th MEU. The training is meant to strengthen the partnership between the Navy and Marine Corps before they leave home soil.
They departed from the Navy ships, USS Boxer and USS New Orleans in small boats and amphibious assault vehicles, Mitchell said.
The first wave of Marines left the Navy ships on smaller boats and came in quietly under dark skies at about 5 a.m. About 30 minutes later, an army of amphibious assault vehicles rolled in off the water.
Throughout the morning, heavily-armed Marines crawled through the brush in wet clothes.
Lance Cpl. Ray Braunshausen was flat on his stomach with a rifle in hand throughout the morning and during his interview with 10News.
"I love this country," he said. "I wanted to fight for this country and protect our land."
He said the concept of the motto "enjoy the suck" was about going through the tough times together and creating a brotherhood.
This idea is the bond created at home will help them get through anything together overseas and serve as even better protectors of the country he loves so much.
As heavy-lift aircraft circled overhead and ships patrolled below, the commanding officer of the 13th MEU, Col. Chuck Taylor, was brimming with pride for his country and his Marines.
"I'm like a proud dad," Taylor said while watching the huge show of force.
The Marines and sailors were joined by personnel from the Japanese Self-Defense Force, who jumped from a helicopter into the ocean and then swam to shore at Green Beach, a stretch of coastline also known as Trestles, near the northern portion of the installation, according to Mitchell. It was in an effort to prepare for work with international partners.
The 13th MEU, Boxer ARG plans to tap into the techniques they are training for to help with humanitarian aid, reinforce embassy security and conduct amphibious assaults when they hit the open water in August.
Training at Camp Pendleton is set to continue throughout the day.
According to Camp Pendleton's public affairs office, 15 amphibious assault vehicles will be required to exit the beach and drive along Old Highway 101, then cross over Interstate 5 on the Basilone Road overpass to get to inland training areas. They are scheduled to travel the same route in reverse several hours later.
The vehicles will temporarily block parts of Old Highway 101, and Interstate 5's off-ramps to Basilone Road, authorities said.
Area motorists could experience intermittent traffic delays between 6 a.m. and noon, base officials said.