Camp Pendleton, California - Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller visited Sailors and Marines participating in exercise Pacific Blitz (PACBLITZ) 2019 throughout the southern California operating area.

PACBLITZ is a scenario-driven, amphibious exercise designed to train and integrate the staffs of I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet (C3F), and major subordinate commands to include Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG 3). The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team is an integral component to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

During the visit March 19, Richardson and Neller met with multiple PACBLITZ participants and were able to observe various exercise operations.

“From the Revolutionary War to today, Sailors and Marines have fought side-by-side in every clime and place, projecting power on and from the sea,” said Richardson.

“Great power competition demands that the Navy and Marine Corps continue to commit to the proven power of our warfighting team.”

One of the important ways the services contribute to this effort is through a joint maritime campaign that maintains a ready and lethal force capable of conducting expeditionary operations across the globe.

“Use of the sea as maneuver space remains as vital today as any time in our history,” said Neller. “The amphibious fleet allows the naval force to do three basic things: each day assure our friends and deter adversaries around the world, execute a global cost imposition strategy if we have to fight, and project and sustain the force in a contested environment.”

The training environment for PACBLITZ is dispersed across the coast of southern California, including Naval Base San Diego, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Port Hueneme and Naval Air Station (NAS) Point Mugu. The exercise involves command and control of simultaneous amphibious and maritime prepositioning forces, distributed maneuver, fires, intelligence and logistics support.

Richardson and Neller met with I MEF leadership at Camp Pendleton before paying a visit aboard USS Somerset (LPD 25) to discuss well deck, flight deck, and command center operations. They also made stops at San Clemente Island and NAS Point Mugu to observe forward deployed air base and expeditionary advanced base logistics.

“This exercise represents an opportunity to assess our ability to conduct littoral operations in a contested environment,” said Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, ESG 3 commander, who accompanied Richardson and Neller during the visit and operates as deputy commander for the exercise. “As a Littoral Combat Force, our primary role is to provide decentralized command and control of both maritime and ashore assets in support of a wide range of military operations.”

PACBLITZ is designed to improve naval amphibious core competencies necessary for global crisis response. Leadership highlighted the importance of lessons learned from the exercise and how they will impact the Navy and Marine Corps moving forward. 

“Our joint force will complete this exercise with increased proficiency in expeditionary operations,” said Vice Adm. John D. Alexander, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. “Our Navy and Marine Corps team is focused on employing all available assets that assist in littoral operations. What we take away from this experience will significantly enhance our readiness, our partnerships, and our lethality for the future.”

Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and develops applicable training that is needed for an effective global Navy. Third Fleet coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the entire Pacific theater of operations.