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Carter Hall, 24th MEU complete Spring Storm 17

March 27, 2017 at 7:04 PM UTC
USS Carter Hall Public Affairs

BLACK SEA – The amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed exercise Spring Storm 17, March 21, in Capul Midia, Romania.

Spring Storm 17 was a bilateral, Romanian-hosted exercise to increase the interoperability between Romanian and American forces and enhance their enduring relationship through a series of exercises.

Romanian troops integrated with Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (BLT 3/6), 24th MEU to practice amphibious assault drills for two full days. The two forces alternated defending and assaulting the beach in the Capul Midia training area near Constanta, Romania.

 

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“We gave the Romanians first-hand experience of what it’s like to splash in an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV),” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Zachary Behrens, an assistant section leader with AAV Platoon, BLT 3/6, 24th MEU. “Most of them had never seen an AAV before. A lot of their eyes lit up when they first saw them.”

“Splashing” is when the AAVs exit the well deck of an amphibious assault ship for ship-to-shore movement.

During the exercise, Marines with the 24th MEU Low Altitude, Air Defense (LAAD) detachment trained with Romanian Marines in simulated employment of each force’s man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems, provided air defense for the amphibious landing drills and conducted a live-fire capabilities demonstration of their stinger missile system.

“In the (Romanians’) moving target simulator, not only did the Romanians get to simulate shooting our stinger missiles, but the Marines had the chance to get their hands on the SA-7, their man-portable missile system,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Nathan Shubick, officer in charge, 24th MEU LAAD detachment.

Marines with the 24th MEU Female Engagement Team (FET) also had the opportunity to train with their female counterparts from the Romanian military during Spring Storm 17.

“We conducted a bilateral training engagement and we were able to give the Romanian military all kinds of classes,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Rebecca Bergstedt, FET officer in charge. 

The women held classes and conducted practical application in communications, detainee handling, personal security detail drills and tactical site exploitation drills. The collaboration culminated on the live-fire range where the service members swapped their issued rifles and pistols to conduct familiarization training and a gun shoot.

 

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“It was a really good training evolution between the Romanians and our Marines,” Bergstedt said. “The Romanian females were a phenomenal group to work with.”

Concurrent with the exercise the Chief of Romanian Naval forces, Vice Adm. Alexandru Mirsu and his Deputy, Rear Adm. Constantin Ciorobea , hosted Capt. Larry LeGree, commander of Amphibious Squadron Eight, for office calls at the Romanian Naval Headquarters in Constanta and Bucharest.  LeGree was eager to express his thanks for being hosted during the exercise.

“We thank you for hosting this exercise here in the Black Sea,” LeGree said. “The experiences working directly with your navy, air force, coast guard and marines in this environment have been valuable for all. The facilities and training grounds at Capu Midia in a live fire exercise provided outstanding training as we stand beside you in partnership.”

These meetings provided a forum for exchange of ideas and affirmation of partnership, as Romanian Naval Forces look to expand their interoperability with the U.S..

“We are glad you are here and you are always welcome here,” said Mirsu.

Carter Hall is part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). The Bataan ARG/MEU team is comprised of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 8, the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and embarked Marines from the 24th MEU.

The 24th MEU consists of more than 2,200 Marines, including a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (Reinforced), and Combat Logistics Battalion 24 and the MEU command element.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.