The Marines without a doubt are one of the most highly disciplined and in tune fighting forces that can be found on the planet. Their exploits shine throughout military history and they remain one of the most feared fighting forces that can be found today, but even they are subject to work under different conditions than they are used to in today’s changing military environment. Such was the case in a recent training test with an all civilian run Navy countermine and special operations ship.
In modern times, how our military operates and performs often comes down to budget considerations. With skyrocketing design and production costs for military equipment, military leaders are often forced to look for alternative solutions to conventional ways to carry out the huge responsibilities that are thrown upon our nation’s military branches. One of those solutions has been to fill in the gaps with more civilian run positions supplementing the roles that soldiers, sailors and airmen typically carry out. It is one of the reasons why the Navy’s nearly all civilian supply fleet was created many years ago.
The Marines have long depended on large, heavily armored amphibious landing ships to move men, aircraft and other equipment to any hot spot around the globe. And why not, these ships have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with all over the world. Many can deliver large numbers of Marines and support equipment in a hurry wherever they are needed. They are also designed to withstand large amounts of enemy fire to help protect the men and equipment that they carry. The plain truth though is that there are simply not enough of these vessels to go around to meet the global requirements of today’s modern military. With that in mind, the Navy and Marines have needed to change their strategy in some instances to adapt to this reality. Most units have sufficient ground personnel, artillery and aircraft attached to them, but sometimes lack the necessary ship resources to move them.
For a few Marine Osprey pilots, this point was brought home loud and clear during a recent training exercise in the Persian Gulf. With the changes in force structure, the Navy and Marines have been training to use alternative means for transport in scenarios where amphibious ships might not be available to do the job. It was thought that some of the larger supply ships or ships tasked with other functions might be useful in a pinch to stage the movement of troops, equipment and aircraft.
In this training exercise the USS Ponce (which was once scheduled for decommission in 2012 until it took on the role of becoming a landing platform for minesweeping helicopters) was used to see if it would be suitable to land and refuel Osprey aircraft to help speed them on their way to their intended destination. The mission proved a success and showed that in tough economic times existing assets could be utilized efficiently for things other than their initially intended purpose. That sort of creative thinking will become more and more necessary as our military adapts to changing times and changing budgets.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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