ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 4, 2015) – Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4 and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) began PHIBRON-MEU Integrated Training (PMINT) May 4, off the northeast coast of the United States.
During PMINT, more than 1,800 Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD 24), along with 1,400 Marines from the 26th MEU, integrate together, for the first time, to complete a series of exercises designed to enhance interoperability between the Sailors and Marines.
“We’ve done a lot of Navy planning prior to this exercise, but we’ve had to make assumptions about what the MEU wants and needs,” said Cmdr. Gregory Chapman, Kearsarge operations officer. “During PMINT, this is the first time we can really get the MEU engaged into the planning and execution process while embarked aboard the ships.”
PMINT is a three-phase evolution that tests the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) to embark the MEU personnel and conduct integrated war-fighting operations through a series of planning exercises, surface gunnery and communication scenarios and air defense exercises. KSGARG is commanded by Capt. Augustus P. Bennett, commodore, PHIBRON 4.
“As I like to think of it, each of the units has already done their individual workouts and preparations,” Chapman said. “PMINT is our ‘spring training.’ It’s the first time we’re coming together to train as a team. We’ve done the position drills, and now we can start concentrating on a bigger picture.”
The exercise is the first of the three major joint milestones in preparation for the group’s upcoming deployment.
“After PMINT, we’ll move onto the ARG/MEU exercise and then to COMPTUEX (Composite Training Unit Exercise),” Chapman added. “That’s where we’ll start playing our ‘preseason games,’ before we kick off the regular season on the day we deploy.”
The KSGARG is scheduled to deploy in fall 2015.
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad Runge, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs