30 Marines and sailors injured in landing craft collision

30 Marines and sailors injured in landing craft collision

On May 1, two air-cushioned landing craft collided during a night training exercise off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, injuring 30 Marines and sailors, Navy officials said.

“One sailor is being treated at a hospital in Savannah, Georgia, and our health and well-being is our top priority,” the commander said. Lara Bollinger, Navy 2nd Fleet spokesperson. “This incident remains under investigation and we will provide further information as it becomes available.”

The hovercraft-like transport ships, which the Navy calls Landing Craft Air Cushions, or LCACs, are high-speed amphibious vessels that carry Marines and equipment ashore on cushions of air, according to the Navy. Each LCAC has her five-person crew and reaches a top speed of nearly 80 miles per hour when fully loaded. They can be deployed from the well deck of an amphibious ship and carry a maximum payload of 60 to 75 tons. This is enough to carry any armored vehicle in the US inventory, including the M1 Abrams tank.

Bollinger told Task & Purpose on Friday that one of the LCACs came from the amphibious assault ship Wasp and the other from the amphibious transport dock USS New York.

“Both LCACs involved in the incident remained afloat and have since returned to the ship,” Bollinger said.

Five sailors were taken to Savannah Memorial University Medical Center in Georgia for medical evaluation, according to a 2nd Fleet news release. Four of them were later released.

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Bollinger said Marines and sailors assigned to Wasp Amphibious Ready Group and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) were participating in joint training as part of Combined Training Force Exercise.

USS New York
File: USS New York sails in formation during a simulated passage of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group during a combined training force exercise in the Atlantic Ocean, April 26, 2024. (Gunnery Sergeant Hector de Jesus/U.S. Navy)

The exercise includes training for a variety of missions, including non-combatant evacuation operations. visit, board, search and seize missions; Reconnaissance and surveillance operations. Col. Emma Thompson, 24th MEU spokeswoman, said of the amphibious raids and raids.

On Friday, Thompson told Mission and Purpose that the maritime training is intended to strengthen ahead of the 24th MEU’s upcoming deployment, which begins with the Amphibious Ready Group. She deferred her questions regarding the LCAC accident to the Second Fleet.

This is the latest training incident involving the 24th MEU during the same exercise. Sergeant Marine Reconnaissance Colin Arslanbus was killed in a parachuting accident on April 28th. Mr. Arslanbus was assigned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, at the time of his death.

After Arslanbus’ death, the 24th MEU temporarily suspended training for 24 hours, Thompson told Task & Purpose in a previous story.

“This was an opportunity for Marines and sailors to come to terms with and mourn the loss of a teammate,” Thompson said. “Despite the pause, key leadership remained focused on careful planning of future operations essential to the 24MEU combined force training exercise.”

Amphibious readiness groups allow the Marines to project power around the world, but the Navy’s amphibious assault ship fleet has long been plagued by maintenance issues and other readiness issues.

The USS Bonhomme Richard was destroyed by fire on July 12, 2020 while tied to a pier in San Diego. Recently, the USS Boxer suffered a failure of her starboard rudder, forcing her to return home in April just 10 days into her deployment. The Navy announced Thursday that it will name its newest amphibious assault ship “Helmand Province,” in honor of the fierce battleground Marines face in Afghanistan.

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