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VENTSPILS, Latvia-U.S. Sailors with Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One, conduct the off-loading of tanks during exercise Saber Strike 17 in Ventspils, Latvia, May 23, 2017 Exercise Saber Strike 17 is an annual combined-joint exercise conducted at various locations throughout the Baltic region and Poland. The combined training prepares allies and partners to respond more to regional crises and meet their own security needs by improving the security of borders and countering threats. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ricardo Davila/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ricardo Davila

Beachmasters Group Two Owns the Beach

16 Jun 2017 | Lance Cpl. Ricardo Davila U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

Sailors from Beachmasters Group Two and Naval Cargo Handling Battalion One provided mission essential assets to more than 11,000 participants during Exercise Saber Strike 17, June 10, 2017.
The Sailors are aboard the USNS Sgt. William R. Button, which is part of the Maritime Prepositioning Force and supported during the exercise with in-stream and pier side offloads.
“First, we offloaded an Improved Navy Lighterage System and then put it together out in stream,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Nefthali Perez, an equipment operator with Naval Cargo Handling Battalion One. “After that we started taking out gear from the hold, which involved tanks, roller, humvees and all sorts of equipment to support the Marines.”
With the equipment needed by the inland warfighters on a ship in the middle of an ocean, the Navy had to find a solution.
That’s where BMU-Two comes in and provides Naval Beach Party Teams for deployment in conjunction with the expeditionary forces to salvage beach and surf zones that facilitate the landing and movement of beach of troops with equipment and supplies.
To avoid confusion and be easily noticeable, BMU-Two wore yellow patches on their uniforms while conducting beach operations during the exercise.
The unit facilitated the movement of assets by delivering operators to the vehicles on the Maritime Prepositioning Ship by way of the Lighter, Amphibious, Resupply, Cargo, 5-ton (LARC-V). The LARC-V also delivered equipment to the shores of Ventspils, Latvia.
“Doing operations with the ‘Button’ has provided amazing training for our sailors with beach, crane, and port operations,” said Navy Lt. Amy Kenny, the MPF officer for Naval Beach Group Two, Expeditionary Strike Group Two.
The sailors do not get many opportunities to get hands-on training with a full-scale Maritime Prepositioning Ship and have learned a lot from this exercise, while providing the Marine Corps with essential gear to complete the exercise successfully.
“We have done a lot for Saber Strike 17 this year,” said Perez. “We have moved more than 17 INLS items, more than 100 administrative lifts, and approximately 1.4 billion pounds of gear that we offloaded and downloaded.”
Sailors participate in this exercise to be prepared and ready to move at a moment’s notice, ensuring that they will be able to adapt to any situation regardless of the cargos size.
“This year’s exercise demonstrates our flexibility and responsiveness to deploy in support of a crisis or contingency as we integrate with our maritime prepositioning shipping,” said Col. Matthew Puglisi, the Marine Corps task force commander of Saber Strike 17. “Conducting maritime prepositioning operations in support of the geographical commander’s exercise priorities, allows us to prepare for future operations.”