Marines conduct non-combatant evacuation operation at Twentynine Palms

Marines conduct non-combatant evacuation operation at Twentynine Palms


A large-scale military training exercise took place Friday afternoon at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. It happened between 5pm and ended around 8pm. Non-combatant evacuation operations are annual exercises during which thousands of Marines learn how to safely evacuate civilians and VIPs from combat zones.

U.S. Marine Corps Major Katrina Ramtha helped plan and execute the exercise. She says this training is essential for future missions.

“Over the past 30 years or so, the United States has conducted about 400 different evacuation operations, 35 of which involved the U.S. military. So to train these things, we have about 60 We send out role players and work people through different scenarios,” Major Ramtha said, adding, “These are planned and executed multiple times a year around the world.” Being able to train for something before we have to do it is a huge opportunity for us. ”

The training is a large-scale collaboration between the Marine Corps on base, the U.S. Department of State, and the Marine Corps based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. Throughout the operation, authorities create fake environments that simulate real-life scenarios, such as situations where people need to be removed from a hostile situation.

“Hostile is a place where the state doesn’t necessarily have consent to be there,” Ramtha explained. “And this is a situation that we anticipate potentially having to fight our way in or fight our way out.”

From there, the Marines will conduct dozens of training landings using CH-53 helicopters. Ramtha said holding the exercise at Twentynine Palms provides a unique opportunity for pilots without disrupting the daily lives of people in the city.

“This is an opportunity for us to practice landings in an urban environment that provides different challenges for pilots without disturbing the city or civilians,” Ramtha said.

Both the Pentagon and the State Department argue that these types of exercises do more than prepare service members for what could someday become a reality. Tiffany Murphy is a senior diplomat at the State Department. Murphy also participated in Friday’s training and helped facilitate and monitor the various scenarios developed throughout the afternoon. She says she is honored to be a part of this.

“Non-combatant evacuation is a critical operation,” Murphy said. “And for everyone, they have to be done absolutely perfectly. That’s why you need to practice them often to ensure optimal performance when the need arises. And there will be a need for that in the future, and we are ready.”



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