Military News

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Exercise Sandfisher Commences on Guam, Integrates US, Singapore Amphibious Techniques

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Corwin Colbert, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- The 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion Marines from Okinawa, Japan, conducted helocast training exercise Sandfisher with their counterparts from the Singaporean Armed Forces just north of Gab Gab Beach aboard U.S. Naval Base Guam Dec. 13.

Exercise Sandfisher is an annual training exercise in which III Marine Expeditionary Force, Force Recon Company, conducts bilateral amphibious reconnaissance and combat diving training with the Singapore Armed Forces Naval Dive Unit (NDU) in order to sustain tactical proficiency and support the Pacific Command Commander's Theater Security Cooperation Program (TSCP).

Helocasting is a waterborne technique used by small unit, special operations forces to insert into a military area of operations. The small unit is flown by helicopter to the insertion point. Once there, the aircraft assumes an altitude just above the water's surface and a low airspeed. Team members then exit the aircraft and enter the water.

The 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion was the component that conducted the mission.

"What you see right now is helocasting," said Lt. Col. Travis Homiak, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion commanding officer. "That is when we deploy swimmers and dive teams from helicopters that are in a modified hover. The purpose of this is to get them into position to swim across to the beach to conduct confirmatory beach reports and surf observations in order to bring landing forces to the beach."

Homiak said the training has reaffirmed the nation's commitment and established personal bonds among the participants.

"On a personal level, this is an ongoing exercise and reinforces the bonds that the Marines have with their Singapore counterparts," Homiak said. "It also reaffirms the United States' commitment to security in the region."

The 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion's mission is to provide ground and amphibious reconnaissance for III Marine Expeditionary Force.

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