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Amphibious Training Taken to New Heights during RIMPAC 2022

04 August 2022

From Lily Lancaster, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - You know who has got your back on real-life operations when you have practiced it in training. That’s why Landing Forces for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 are putting their training to the test in a multi-national reconnaissance mission.

In a simulated scenario, Australian Army soldiers and United States Marines lift off from the Landing Helicopter Dock HMAS Canberra (L02), in U.S Marine Corps CH-53 Super Stallions. Before their mission even begins, they are challenged with the insertion method called helicopter casting (helo-casting), jumping from a low flying helicopter into the ocean.

“Helo-casting for the first time was an experience, it was very exciting. It was a fresh way of looking at how we can apply ourselves. Yes, it was fun, but most importantly it exposed to everyone different methods of inserting into an environment,” said Lt. Joel Scarramella, 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment’s newest platoon commander.

Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, Lt. Col. Mark Tutton knows this is an important opportunity for the Australian Army.

“Inserting onto a beach from a United States aircraft is something that we must practice. Developing our interoperability makes us stronger and more adaptive as a force,” said Tutton.

What makes this helo-casting exercise more unique is the Zodiac F470 bundle that they dispatch from the helicopter then has to be inflated in the ocean. Responsible for carefully packaging the zodiacs is Australian Army Air Dispatcher Cpl. Jesse Ablett’s team.

“How it works is we put all the equipment is put inside the deflated boat and into a bundle,” said Ablett. “Once it is dispatched from the rotary wing aircraft, it uses a gas bottle to inflate so the boat crew can set it up once they are in the water.”

Having jumped into the deep end, soldiers boarded their Inflated Small Craft F470 Zodiac to push onto the beach.

Together, with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion Marines, the teams make their way to land where they will spend the next few days conducting reconnaissance on a fictional village at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows. They have the task of silently capturing intelligence and planning pathways to remain unnoticed by the enemy before calling in a company of infantry soldiers to secure the site.

Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, three submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.


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