U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS --
U.S. Marines and Sailors assigned to Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (BLT 2/6), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), recently completed a series of training events in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations during April 2018.
Fox Co., the mechanized company of BLT 2/6, is comprised of an infantry company reinforced by an M1A1 Abrams Tank platoon, an AAV-P7/A1 Assault Amphibious Vehicle platoon, and other supporting attachments. The lethality of the unit is enhanced by the firepower and transport capabilities provided by its mechanized components: tanks and AAVs.
“As the mechanized company, the [U.S. 5th Fleet] training areas enabled Fox Company to ‘stretch its legs’ and operate as a mechanized force in open terrain that differed from Camp Lejeune,” said Maj. Joseph P. Murphy, Fox Co. commander. “Training complemented and amplified the pre-deployment workup and enabled Fox to sharpen its edge and maintain its edge.”
The training included a wide array of day and night live-fire ranges for the mechanized and infantry components, amphibious operations, and combat tactics implementation from the squad to the company level. Fox was also able to train in mountainous terrain, which broadened their skill set and increased their state of readiness.
Eager Lion 2018 in Jordan enabled the unit to take advantage of the country’s training areas to train and self-sustain in austere conditions, at the same time provided a convenient location for the unit to receive critical parts and equipment needed for a vital maintenance stand-down.
Eager Lion was a capstone training engagement that provided U.S. forces and the Jordan Armed Forces an opportunity to rehearse operating in a coalition environment and to pursue new ways to collectively address threats to regional security and improve overall maritime security.
“Being able to take a stand-down in training for maintenance during Eager Lion allowed the AAV Platoon to get a firm grasp and mitigate any issues that could potentially have risen during the deployment,” said 1st Lt. Isaac Seals, AAV platoon commander. “Having the opportunity to dive deep into the vehicles put the platoon ahead and allowed us to focus on improving our readiness further.”
Fox Co.’s participation in Eager Lion allowed AAVs and tanks to gain full operational status, which is significant, given the small window within the demanding MEU deployment schedule. The Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) prioritized vehicle and equipment maintenance to maintain a flexible, adaptable and persistent force.
Space and accessibility are limitations that the unit encountered while embarked which made it more critical to complete intensive maintenance prior to returning to sea. Simultaneously and successfully executing training and maintenance while deployed postured Fox Co. to execute across a range of military operations and get in the fight if called upon.
“The U.S. 5th Fleet sustainment training was invaluable for Fox Company,” Murphy said. “The training combined with an extensive maintenance period has the company staged at peak readiness for potential future operations.”
The 26th MEU trains to sustain expeditionary readiness across a range of critical capabilities both afloat and ashore in order to be prepared to respond to crisis in the U.S. 5th Fleet AO.