Dawn Blitz 2013 – Air Assault


It’s was a bright typical summer day at Camp Pendleton in sunny Southern California. The Dawn Blitz 2013 Exercise has been taking place since early June.

Dawn Blitz 2013 is a multinational exercise that the Navy and Marine Corps use to enhance their amphibious expeditionary tactics, techniques and procedures. This bilateral exercise represents the Navy and Marine Corps’ ongoing efforts to meet the challenges of future conflicts, overseas contingency operations, humanitarian assistance disaster response and homeland defense.  Units from the US Marines and the US Navy, along with the Royal Canadian Navy and Army, the Japanese Navy and Army, and the New Zealand Army are the participating forces..

On June 20th, the US Marines conducted a large scale air assault, using over 35 aircraft,from the 3rd Marine Air Wing Marine Aircraft Wing 16 in moving a battalion size unit from the 2nd BN 1st Marines, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. Some of the aircraft involved included MV-22B’s Ospreys from VMM 161, VMM 163, VMM 363, and CH-53E Super Sea Stallions from HMM-466. Other aircraft involved in the exercise, but not present at the pick up point were UH-1Y Super Hueys, AH-1Z Super Cobras, KC-130J Super Hercules and AV-8B Harriers.

The Marines departed from Camp Pendleton and flew to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twenty-nine Palms to conduct the air assault training mission, a trip of several hundred miles.

“Marine Aircraft Wing 16’s participation in Dawn Blitz 2013 is significant on multiple levels.  Having the opportunity to work with the international participants is vital for enhancing our ability to respond to crises as part of a joint or combined effort.  This partnership builds confidence and trust that is essential for providing regional security, stability and prosperity.  Friday’s airlift is also noteworthy because it will demonstrate MAG-16’s unique ability to conduct a tactical insert of a battalion-size infantry unit in a single wave of aircraft.  This type of mission is the foundation of Marine aviation and provides realistic, relevant training necessary for effective global crisis response,” said Marine Aircraft Wing 16 Commanding Officer, Col. Patrick A. Gramuglia.

Douglas Aguillard

Douglas (Doug) Aguillard is a Freelance Photojournalist who specializes in the Military & Aviation fields. Based in San Diego, CA, he is a Marine veteran., He currently is a photojournalist for the Military Press Newspaper, the Historical / Archival Dept. photographer for the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar, and a very proud member of Photo Recon, and has been published in various magazines and books such as "Combat Aircraft Monthly" magazine, "Vertical " magazine, "Wings of Gold" magazine, Sikorsky Frontlines newsletter, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum's Book: "Celebrating the San Diego Air & Space Museum: A History of the Museum and it's collections".

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