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A crew chief with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, leads Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment to board a CH-53E Super Stallion during Exercise Deep Water 2020 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., July 29, 2020. The purpose of the exercise is to increase 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s interoperability and readiness on a scale that simulates peer-level threats. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Yuritzy Gomez)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Yuritzy Gomez

II MEF conducts regimental air assault during Exercise Deep Water

29 Jul 2020 | 1st Lt. Tyler King 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines commanded by II Marine Expeditionary Force began a two-battalion air assault as a part of Exercise Deep Water today on Camp Lejeune (CLNC). An exercise of this size has not been conducted in almost 20 years and is roughly double the size of Exercise Steel Pike, conducted in 2019.

Exercise Deep Water is a 2nd Marine Regiment-planned event that incorporates elements from across the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF). Taking off from Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, the air-assault will fly 240 miles (387 km) to Camp Lejeune before engaging in a dynamic force-on-force scenario.

Assault support operations are defined as the tactical movements of Marines, weapons, and material by assault support aircraft to support the ground tactical plan. These operations are deliberate, precisely planned, and vigorously executed combat operations designed to allow friendly forces to strike over extended distances in order to attack when and where the enemy is most vulnerable.

“Exercise Deep Water, a regimental air assault that utilizes the whole of CLNC and the outlying training areas, will allow us to sharpen our spear and help make us more lethal,” said Col. Brian Coyne, 2nd Marine Regiment commanding officer. “With Marine air assets serving as part of a robust team that incorporates every element of the MAGTF, this exercise provides an opportunity to display the unparalleled lethality of a well-orchestrated Marine fighting force. As [Regimental Combat Team 2] takes on an independent-thinking adversary, the ability of our squads to shoot, move, communicate, evacuate and employ effective combined arms with excellence will be put to the test.”

In addition to the air assault, 2nd Marine Regiment will be conducting offensive, defensive, and stability operations in multiple urban training settings where both conventional and hybrid adversary forces will be acting against them. 

Exercise Deep Water meets II Marine Expeditionary goals of readiness, sustainment, and excellence in command and control, as well as preparation for major conflict operations in accordance with guidance from the II MEF Commanding General Lt. Gen. Brian D. Beaudreault and the Commandant’s Planning Guidance.

Coyne continued, “Accepting and embracing the challenge of such a highly complex event in these trying times is a reflection of our unit’s commitment to remaining prepared for major combat operations or unexpected contingency operations. Along with the rest of the world, our adversaries are watching to see if we drop our guard; the visible enhancement of 2d Regiment’s combat readiness during Deep Water will help assure our enemies that they should not test our Corps. This training event will improve our warfighting proficiency and prepare us for tomorrow’s battles. ‘Tarawa’ (official call sign for 2nd Marines) Marines will fight and win if called.”

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