Story by 1st Lt. Christina Metzler
The training provides an opportunity for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy to enhance their interoperability and develop new methods of integrating Marine assets into the naval expeditionary force. During the operation, a HIMARS platoon from 12th Marine Regiment successfully loaded personnel and equipment onto a U.S. Navy landing craft, utility, where it was then transferred to another location and offloaded on shore for follow-on missions.
This capability makes HIMARS a more lethal and extensive asset. “This exercise helps showcase our unit’s mobility and the mobility of the HIMARS in the Indo-Pacific,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Pablo Villegas, a HIMARS operator who participated in the training. He went on to say that HIMARS are typically driven over land or inserted into an area of operations via aircraft, now that HIMARS are able to be transported via a LCU, there are no limits to where the HIMARS can be.
This operation is the first of many opportunities 3rd Marine Division will have to incorporate HIMARS with naval assets. “We brought the launcher out here because it allows us to integrate with other agencies in the Navy and Marine Corps,” said 1st Lt. Emil Bruch, the platoon commander for the HIMARS platoon that participated in the exercise. “We’ve never integrated with the 31st [Marine Expeditionary Unit] and this is a way to further enhance our relationship going forward.”
Having HIMARS in the Indo-Pacific allows U.S. forces to shape the battle space, whether in the air, land or sea. The extended range and high accuracy of the system make it essential for expeditionary advanced base operations.