U.S. Marines and Sailors with 8th Engineer Support Battalion and 2nd Transportation Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, executed Type Commander Amphibious Training 20.1 on Onslow Beach, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Oct. 21-26, 2019.
TCAT is a mobility exercise ashore in order to gain the requisite skills and experience to integrate with the U.S. Navy in follow on exercises and real-world operations.
“The Marines will have a better understanding of what life on a Naval vessel is like as well as the role of the Logistics Combat Element engineer in an amphibious landing,” said 2nd Lt. Matthew Markee, with 8th ESB.
“Bringing the Navy and Marine Corps together is awesome. Seeing the Marines get involved with Navy life and experience the other side of our heritage is motivating!” Staff Sgt. Ashley Eichelberger, Beach Operations Group staff noncommissioned officer in charge with 2nd TSB
During the week-long exercise, Marines and Sailors transported personnel and equipment from the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) to Onslow Beach.
The gear was delivered using the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC), which is a high-speed, over the beach, fully amphibious landing craft capable of carrying a 60 to 75 ton payload. The air cushion vehicles belong to LCACs 69 and 53 assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4.
“It’s going to greatly improve their knowledge, because they’ll be able to get hands-on experience with the LCACs and Craft Masters,” said Staff Sgt. Ashley Eichelberger, Beach Operations Group staff noncommissioned officer in charge with 2nd TSB. “Practicing with live entities is a game-changer.”
Once ashore, the Marines with 8th ESB conducted follow-on breaching and area clearance operations in support of the amphibious assault to facilitate the mobility of follow-on and supporting forces.
With naval integration training at the forefront of the mission, the Marines with 2nd TSB were able to conduct detailed planning, become familiar with ship-loading characteristics and learn amphibious embarkation procedures. Although the units are constantly training, large-scale exercises like TCAT 20.1 are rare.
In March 2019, U.S. Marine Forces Command released an order detailing amphibious training requirements, which set the stage for several other TCAT opportunities in Fiscal Year 20 and 21.