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Jungle Warfare Exercise 22: 7,500 Marines, Carrier Strike Group rehearse rapid deployment, joint operations during large-scale training exercise

18 February 2022

From Maj. Kurt Stahl

More than 7,500 U.S. Marines across III Marine Expeditionary Force teamed up with the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group during Jungle Warfare Exercise 22 in the vicinity of Okinawa, Feb. 13th to 18th. The exercise provided an opportunity to rehearse rapid deployments and joint warfighting concepts in response to a crisis threatening the security of islands and waterways. When the call came, the Marine Corps and its joint and allied partners were ready...

More than 7,500 U.S. Marines across III Marine Expeditionary Force teamed up with the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group during Jungle Warfare Exercise 22 in the vicinity of Okinawa, Feb. 13th to 18th.

The exercise provided an opportunity to rehearse rapid deployments and joint warfighting concepts in response to a crisis threatening the security of islands and waterways. When the call came, the Marine Corps and its joint and allied partners were ready

Two infantry battalions – 2d Battalion, 7th Marines and 1st Battalion, 3d Marines – immediately loaded onto numerous MV-22B Ospreys and CH-53E Super Stallions and departed for their objectives from separate locations. One unit’s mission was to rapidly deploy to defend the island, and the other’s mission involved a 700-mile long-range insertion into the hilly double-canopy jungle to take the island back from the opposing force of Marines.

“JWX is designed to practice distributed operations in demanding jungle and maritime environments, resembling much of the terrain in the region we could be called to defend,” said Lt. Col. Philip Peacock, operations officer for 4th Marine Regiment. “We must be comfortable operating in these challenging environments.”

“This exercise showcases the teamwork and integration between the Navy and Marine Corps in the Indo-Pacific. It allows our multi-domain forces to rehearse combat missions to bolster our collective capability and readiness.” Rear Adm. J. T. Anderson, Carrier Strike Group 3 commander


Simultaneously, U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18s, F-35Bs, and F-35Cs joined U.S. Air Force F-15s, U.S. Navy F/A-18s and EA-18Gs, and Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-15s working together to protect the movement in the air, provide close-air support for Marines on the ground, and bolster maritime strike capabilities.

“Each mission focused on the refinement of new tactics, techniques, procedures, and technologies such as rapid dispersion and utilization of a digitally interoperable kill chain,” said Col. Cristopher Murray, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 36.

Upon entering the jungles of northern Okinawa, the Marines of 2/7 and 1/3 began the force-on-force portion of the exercise while their higher headquarters facilitated integration with friendly assets at sea and in the air. By tying together sensors and information sharing, ground-based Marines increased battlefield awareness for joint and allied forces and extended the range of what they can detect and target.

"This exercise showcases the teamwork and integration between the Navy and Marine Corps in the Indo-Pacific. It allows our multi-domain forces to rehearse combat missions to bolster our collective capability and readiness," said Rear Adm. J. T. Anderson, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3. "Our continued participation in these joint and combined exercises demonstrates our commitment to our allies and partners in the region to protect our collective interests, enhance our security, and safeguard our shared values."

JWX 22 also featured multiple functioning forward arming and refueling points sustaining aviation operations across austere locations. Members of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing deployed a squadron of attack helicopters to a nearby island, Ie Shima in this case, to rehearse missions supporting maritime surveillance, strikes, and coastal defense.

Expeditionary logistics was also a key component of JWX 22 with operations taking place in six separate training areas. Marines with 3d Marine Logistics Group conducted resupply across islands, from sea-to-shore, and through the air. These Marines leveraged surface connectors, small boats, and helicopters to implement innovative tactics and techniques in support of EABO. Elements of logistical support included purified drinking water, forward positioned sustainment caches, and positioning key enablers with the initial insertions of infantry units.

“One of the new ways we are experimenting is utilizing the Navy’s small boat squadrons to retrieve re-supply bundles intentionally delivered by both Air Force and Marine Corps aircraft into pre-determined water drop zones,” said Lt. Col. Brett Bohne, commanding officer of Combat Logistics Battalion 4. “This exercise showcased the ability of joint forces to rapidly mobilize, integrate, and provide flexible logistics solutions to sustain combat momentum.”

JWX 22 is large-scale field training exercise focused on leveraging the integrated capabilities of joint and allied partners to strengthen all-domain awareness, maneuver, and fires across a distributed maritime environment. The exercise serves as a rehearsal to rapidly project combat power in defense of allies and partners in the region.

 

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