Marines at Camp Lejeune are deploying to California for a large-scale training exercise.
The 2nd Marine Division will travel to 29 Palms, California, for a Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise (MWX).
There will be approximately 10,000 Marines and Sailors participating in the MWX, which is a multi-day, division-scale, unscripted, force-on-force exercise within Integrated Training Exercise 1-20.
Marines will be transporting equipment, including more than 40 Amphibious Assault Vehicles, across the country by tractor-trailer. First Lieutenant Joe Wright, the Communication Strategy Officer, says the planning process is not easy.
“For the division, with thousands of people and hundreds of assets, to deploy across the country and support this exercise will be a massive feat and attest to how the division can deploy into an area of operations," he explains.
3rd Platoon Commander Paul Hwang says getting AAV's and other equipment to the training exercise in California is vital.
"(The AAV's) bring the assault capabilities to fight as a ship to shore connector, " he says, "which means we embark infantry troops on our vehicle, we splash off the back of the ship, swim for an extended period of time, and then assault the contested beach."
Both men say the planning portion of the deployment is a long process.
“The logistics and getting something like this starts way ahead of time," Hwang explains. "The preparation starts months in advance."
Camp Lejeune Marines say they have not prepared for a training exercise of this scale in more than a decade.