Patriots and LCACs for the first time
Soldiers of Bravo Battery, 1-1 ADA (Air Defense Artillery), 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade based out of Okinawa, Japan made history last week as they conducted the first-ever amphibious insert of a Patriot Minimum Engagement Package. The MEP was landed in Aparri, Philippines on 28 March as part of Balikatan 22, something that can potentially up the Marine’s Ground-Based Air Defense game in the littoral.
After boarding USS Ashland (LPD 48), the MEP was loaded on LCACs 29 and 80 from Naval Beach Unit Seven. Marines from Alpha Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion (3d Marine Logistics Group) prepared the landing site and guided the LCACs ashore so they could emplace in their fighting positions
While the Marines have some organic expeditionary ADA, it largely consists of MANPADS centered on the Low-Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Battalions of Marine Air Wings. This whoopie cake was all that the Corps was left with after they disbanded their Hawk Light Anti-Aircraft Missile battalions in 1997 and then failed to fund the SLAMRAAM (Surface Launched AMRAAM) which mounted 4-6 AMRAAMs on the back of a Hummer, which could be slung loaded under a CH-53 or brought in by a single LCU or LCAC.
What could have been, and without needing two LCACs to land!: