July 23, 2014, FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Maryland – The Marine Corps Warfghting Laboratory, headquartered at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, conducted their Advanced Warfighting Experiment during the 24th iteration of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world’s largest international maritime exercise, hosted in Hawaii.
The multi-week experiment proceeded at three sites on two separate islands in Hawaii.
“It is an opportunity to step outside of research and get into the field and find benefits, weaknesses and new capabilities of new tactics and technology,” said Marine Lt. Col. Charles Berry, the officer in charge of the experiment. “The experiment culminates more than a decade of hard work to create a more effective [Marine Air Ground Task Force].”
“This is also the largest scale experiment we have done in the last ten years.”
Berry, a native of Carneys Point, New Jersey, works the branch head of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab Field Test Branch to provide training on and collect data about developing projects. He and those under his charge identify functional gaps and new capabilities for Marines to improve Marine Corps tactical ability.
“It is kind of like [science fiction] working with experimental technology,” said Lance Cpl. Brandon Diekmann, an infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. “I never thought as young lance corporal in the infantry, I would to get to work with something like this.”
Diekmann, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, worked as an operator of the Legged Squad Support System during the experiment. The system is a quadra-pedal, robotic pack mule, which carries upwards of 400 pounds of gear.
“I get to work with gear that may have a greater impact on the military and the civilian world,” Diekmann said.
If Marines can operate more efficiently, they become less taxing logistically on other military branches.
“With less of a burden on our shipmates supporting us from their platforms at sea,” Berry said. “ This will present them with more tactical options and a smoother operation as a whole.
“In the future we will work with new partners to find new partners to find new ways of working with the Navy, Army and Air force.”
United States sailors and Marines field assessed the gear while working alongside numerous other nations, so they could see how we will conduct Joint Operations in Pacific.
“There were absolute gains for all services and for civilian agencies alike,” Berry said. “Applications for these concepts include crisis response, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief.
New gear tested during the experiment included the Following:
Legged Squad Support, Foot Mobile Charger, Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate Foot Mobile Charger, Tele-medicine, Marine Air Ground Task Force Enabler-Light, universal tactical robotic controller, Hybrid Energy Internally Transportable Vehicle Trailer.
“The mobile shock trauma treatment and casualty care treatment programs bring a stabilization capability to the field,” Berry said. “As an [AH-1W Cobra Helicopter pilot], I provided security for casualty evacuation and I know how precious time can be when it comes to saving lives.
“These new capabilities could possibly improve the “The Golden Hour” and help ensure more service members make it home.”
The technology tested during the experiment meets many of the needs of the Marine Corps’ future, which requires the Corps to be a self-sustaining, light, rapid responding modern force.
“Our efforts are all about creating a better future war fighting environment for troops,” Berry said. “Getting the lance corporals, corporals and sergeants to review this gear and tell us what they think is critical.”
The Marine Corps stands at the edge of a new era, a future built on getting back to its amphibious roots and capabilities, which has been the deciding factor for many of America’s battles.