ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) set sail Jan. 30 to initiate the live phase of exercise Bold Alligator 2012.
Wasp is serving as the flagship for Bold Alligator, the largest amphibious exercise conducted by the Navy/Marine Corps team in the past 10 years. It is also the first live, East Coast, Expeditionary Strike Group/Marine Expeditionary Brigade-level exercise in about a decade.
"Realistic training at sea is essential to the Navy and Marine Corps' ability to train like we fight," said Capt. Gary M. Boardman, Wasp's commanding officer.
Twenty-five ships, and 20,000 Sailors, Marines and Coastguardsmen are participating in the two-week exercise, which runs through Feb. 13. Commands involved include Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG), Expeditionary Strike Group 2 (ESG-2), 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), 24 Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) as well as coalition ships, units, and observers from 12 other countries.
Training scenarios are based on a continuum of situations that the Navy/Marine Corps team is likely to face in today's environment and are built in order to enhance the varied capabilities that allow amphibious forces to conduct forcible entry against an opposing military force; as well as crisis response, humanitarian assistance, and building partnerships.
"Exercises like Bold Alligator allow the Navy and Marine Corps team to exercise its full spectrum of expeditionary capabilities, to include working with our coalition partners, in complex environments," said Boardman.
"Bold Alligator is about building partnerships and ensuring the amphibious force is ready when called. Wasp is looking forward to leading the way as the flagship for Expeditionary Strike Group Two and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Battalion."
Wasp's underway is the culmination of weeks of certification training and ship preparations to include taking on numerous supplies, food stores, and hundreds of Marines, foreign officers and support staffs
"We have been extremely busy onloading the personnel and resources needed to conduct an exercise of this magnitude," said Chief Warrant Officer Chad Mader, Wasp's Combat Cargo Officer. "Getting everyone to work together is one of the goals of this evolution, so when we need [this force], we have the ability and knowledge to operate as one cohesive unit."
Bold Alligator 2012 serves as an opportunity to revitalize an integrated, Navy/Marine Corps approach to amphibious operations, strengthening their traditional role as fighters from the sea.
Join the conversation about Bold Alligator 2012 on social media using #BA12.
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For more news from USS Wasp (LHD 1), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd1/.