CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (KGTV) - A massive training exercise coordinated between three Marine Corps. Air Stations in the Southwest took flight Monday.
The goal is to ensure Marines and Sailors are ready if they need to move hundreds of troops and supplies fast. The exercise is comprised of about 1,300 troops, from MCAS Miramar, Camp Pendleton and Yuma.
It took three months of planning.
"It really stretches all the muscles for all of the units to support something big like this," Lt. Col. Nathan Storm said.
The training is almost twice as big as prior similar trainings.
"It gives I Marine Expeditionary Force the opportunity to get together and practice large scale operations like this for operations wherever the Marine Corps may send us in order to defend the United States," Lt. Col. Storm said.
This particular mission is to take over an airbase and secure it as a supply route, "not that we’re necessarily planning for anything like that but we always have to be ready and be lethal for that eventuality," he said.
Dozens of aircraft were meticulously coordinated to come in and take off in waves. Rows of MV-22 Osprey sat on the flight deck loading up Monday afternoon. Earlier two of the Marines' biggest assault support helicopters, the CH 53E Super Stallions, loaded up with dozens of troops and took off.
The flights Monday were the crux of the past two weeks of training for the Marines and Sailors. "Fantastic! It is absolutely great to see these all of these different communities come together the way that they are supposed to, the way that they’re designed in the Marine Corps to support the war fighters of the 1st Marine Division," Lt. Col. Storm said.
The aircraft will all meet in Twentynine Palms, near Joshua Tree, where they will train in a mock town, in scenarios similar to what they would see overseas. They will be extracted and brought back home Wednesday.
Neighbors should not notice any difference in the amount of noise during the exercise. Lt. Col. Storm said these are aircraft that normally fly missions throughout the week, this time they are all going in the same direction.