Marines storm ashore at Camp Pendleton, maybe for the last time

By sheer numbers, it was impressive: 4,500 sailors and Marines, seven ships, 60 amphibious assault vehicles, 16 air-cushioned landing craft and numerous fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.

Dubbed Dawn Blitz, the weeklong amphibious assault exercise this month on the beach at Camp Pendleton was the largest such exercise since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In Iraq and now Afghanistan, the Marines have been engaged in drawn-out conflicts hundreds of miles from their normal sea-borne supply lines.

So the brass decided it was time for a major exercise to train newer troops in the Marines’ traditional specialty.

Navy and Marine Corps brass, watching the final-day assault from a bluff atop Red Beach, seemed pleased at how their troops were handling the complexities of rushing men and equipment ashore, ready for combat.

“We’re good at it but we want to be better,” said Rear Adm. Earl L. Gay, commanding of the Navy’s Expeditionary Strike Group 3.

At the Pentagon, however, some planners are wondering whether the expense of maintaining an amphibious assault capability is worth it — given the new weaponry in the hands of potential enemies. There is also controversy over the new Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and its proposed program cost of $13.2 billion.

— Tony Perry at Camp Pendleton, and Julian Barnes in Washington
— Photo: Marines train in a large-scale amphibious exercise, dubbed Dawn Blitz, at Camp Pendleton in June. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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  • jowicknos

    The marines are obsolete not effective in modern warfare

  • Anonymous

    >No Marine life is EVER wasted. Thank you for your service.

    Sincerely,
    (Hopefully) A Marine to be.

  • Anonymous

    >To the 71 year young jarhead. Life in the USMC is never a waste. CJ\CPL USMC 68-71

  • Anonymous

    >Seems to me that there will always be ships on the ocean, they are the cheapest and best way to ship freight. So we will always need a marine corps to protect them and and resque hijacted ships. The world is covered by 70% water so I think that the need to land men on a beach will always be needed also.

    Clem

  • LavaDog

    >I was discussing this article with some future Jarheads. It brings up some good points about whether we need an amphibious Marine Corps like we have had.

    The USMC currently is going through some major growing pains and it needs to sort this all out in the next few years.

    As time passes the USMC is becoming a lot like the Army and this needs to change. We do not need two Armies.

    Hopefully the new CMC will change things when he takes his position this November.

  • Anonymous

    >Is it possible that current weapons, available to our enemies, will or have made the idea of seaborn assults too costly. Much has changed in the Corps over the years and I would not be surprised if our country is holding on to out of date concepts. Interesting question and one to watch.

  • Howard

    >Unless I missed the point, it seems to me that as long as we have water on this rock, we will need an amphibious assault capability.

  • Anonymous

    >Absolutely NOT. Thank you for your service and love of our great country.
    Jim

  • Anonymous

    >Being a Marine (71 yrs. young) cannot fathom the terror that was instilled by Chaney adminstration on fellow citizens.
    Also things so bad now because lack of military service in private sector do not like doing business with anyone who was not in military or who never made payroll.
    Did I waste big portion of life in Marine Corp for nothing?

  • Anonymous

    >This November Will have our chance to restore the conservative views that our nation once had.Get out and vote

  • Anonymous

    >JUST AMAZING. WE CAN SPEND BILLIONS ON ILLEGAL ALIENS, OVERSEAS AID FOR COUNTRIES THAT HATE US, FLYING NANCY POLOSI TO AND FROM CALIFORNIA, ETC., ETC. AND YET IT IS TOO EXPENSIVE TO MAINTAIN OUR MILITARY TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY!!

    ERNIE AUSTEN SP5 11E40 ARMOR CREWMAN
    4/64, 3ID A-BURG GERMANY FROM 1966-1969