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Amphibious assault vehicles replaced following deaths of nine Marines

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Posted at 4:45 PM, Feb 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 01:13:48-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Camp Pendleton Marines are training with new vehicles that are replacing the type involved in a deadly accident nearly two years ago.

More lethal, survivable, and reliable. Camp Pendleton for the first time showcased its “Personal Amphibious Combat Vehicles.”

“A lot of time and effort has gone into the last few days to allow them to get to this level,” said Commander David Perez with the third assault amphibian battalion.

The change from amphibious assault vehicles to amphibious combat vehicles comes nearly two years after an AAV took on water off the coast of San Clemente Island, killing nine Marines.

"We obviously as a Marine Corps learned a number of lessons, from the AAV tragedy of July of 2020, and we have incorporated all of them,” said Lieutenant General George Smith.

RELATED: Service members in deadly Southern California amphibious assault vehicle accident identified

Before the operation came six months of training, focusing primarily on water-borne operations and assaults.

"We have done extensive training both in the Boat Basin and on White Beach here in Camp Pendleton which simulated ship to shore movement, coming to shore, and securing inland objectives,” Perez added.

The ACV uses wheels instead of track and is heavily armored.

The technology and weapons systems are more advanced, allowing them to shoot on the move, and have gunners both in the front and back.

Japanese servicemembers, who are fairly new to amphibious vehicles, trained alongside the Marines in their AAVs.

"It's extremely significant for our allies to see the capability of this platform, and re-affirm our commitment to them and that it can support peace and stability in the Pacific Region,” Perez said.

The ACVs used by the Marines in training Wednesday will be the first to deploy with a Marine expeditionary unit at the end of 2022.

Smith said COVID-19 played a significant role in organizing the operation and in training in the ACVs.