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Exercise Dawn Blitz: Yuma Harriers rise early for future of naval operations

By Lance Cpl. Jakob Schulz | | June 3, 2010

A group of Marines returned to the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., May 28, 2010, after participating in the Marine Corps’ first Exercise Dawn Blitz here.

The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate the newly established guidelines for amphibious assaults, detailed in the Naval Operations Concept 2010, released May 24, 2010.

Fifteen Marine Attack Squadron 513 support and maintenance Marines embarked on the USS Bonhomme Richard from San Diego to participate in the exercise May 24, 2010. The exercise is ongoing and slated to end June 4, 2010.

While eight AV-8B Harriers and 12 pilots participated in the exercise, the pilots operated out of Yuma, flying to the ship daily to refuel before providing close-air support for the exercise.

Dawn Blitz afforded Marines and sailors an opportunity to practice large-scale amphibious assault operations, combining long-range support in the form of naval gunfire and artillery, Harrier close-air support, helicopter transport and amphibious landings.

“The exercise was successful for everyone involved,” said Capt. Brian Boyd, squadron ground safety officer and landing signals officer for the exercise. “We were able to get a lot of training for the pilots and Marines on the ground. We were also able to get carrier qualifications for seven of out pilots.”

During the week, the Marines assisted the sailors on the flight deck of the ship with more than 50 takeoffs and landings, logging in approximately 50 hours of flight time.

The Corps plans to hold Dawn Blitz annually.

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