The Marines and Sailors with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing are participating in an island hopping campaign as part of Naval Base Forward Training Exercise Summer Fury 21. With assets positioned on the West Coast at Both on land and at sea, 3rd MAW tested components of forward expeditionary base readiness operations for future maritime conflicts in the Indo-Pacific region.
Island hopping originated during World War II, when Allied forces deployed in the Pacific theater adopted a “speed jump” tactic as a means of gaining control of strategic sea islands while avoiding heavily guarded enemy targets. The leapfrog eventually paved the way for the Marines to more effectively reach enemy objectives with fewer casualties, leaving adversaries in Southeast Asia in a constant state of surprise and imbalance.
Using this plan, the 3rd MAW synchronized the seizure of strategic airfields on San Clemente Island, which set conditions on the objective of bypassing heavily fortified islands in order to seize lightly defended locations. who could support follow-up operations during Summer Fury. As the evolution progressed, Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 372 bolstered the efforts of 3rd MAW by establishing forward armament and supply points on both the Isle of San Clemente and on a peripheral helicopter landing pad.
Photo by Lance Cpl. Isaac velasco
In addition, Marines with Maritime Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 provided continued logistical support, allowing 3rd MAW to continue the fight. FARPs effectively increased the range and pace of air operations within the simulated island chain, thereby increasing the ability of the 3rd MAW to take command and control of the maritime islands.
As combat remains both “timeless and ever-changing,” the 3rd MAW continues to make significant progress toward the goals of Force Design 2030 through war games and combat-oriented exercises. During Summer Fury 21, units of 3rd MAW participated in evolutions such as advanced naval base training, long-range strike operations, and forward air control exercises, improving readiness and lethality in the field. support of a maritime campaign.
The 3rd MAW continues to “fix, fly and fight” as the largest aircraft wing in the Marine Corps, and remains combat ready, deployable on short notice and deadly when called into action.