By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Local Marine takes part in Bold Alligator exercise
P 042
Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Waters - photo by Photo provided

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.—For the Navy son of a Guyton man and grandson of a Guyton woman, "storming the beach" here looked much different than the iconic World War II photos of landing craft riding the waves to shore, followed by Marines running out with guns blazing. An amphibious beach assault today can mean vehicles emerging from the sea and moving inland where land operations can begin.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian O. Waters, son of Tracy Bignault and grandson of Annette Waters, both of Guyton, is a gunner’s mate with Riverine Squadron 1, Little Creek, Va., and was one of approximately 20,000 participating in our nation’s largest amphibious training exercise in 10 years, named Exercise Bold Alligator 2012.

The exercise recently took place at nine bases along the East Coast and illustrated a revitalization of the fundamentals and tactics of modern amphibious operations. U.S. Marines, sailors, coastguardsmen, along with allied troops from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom participated.

Waters’ role was to help his team practice amphibious operations, and ensure they are ready if called upon.

"I am a gunner crewman aboard a riverine patrol boat in the United States Navy," said the 2006 Effingham County High School graduate.

The exercise incorporated 25 ships and more than 120 aircraft to improve executing maritime strategy, forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, along with working closely with allies.

For Waters, amphibious operations tested here required everyone to undergo specialized training before they could participate in Bold Alligator.

"I’ve gone through months of training cycles consisting of small arms and crew serve ranges, shooting thousands of rounds both day and night," said Waters, who has been in the Navy for three years.

From the Navy ships offshore, to the Marines patrolling the mock villages located inland, the Navy and Marine Corps together played a major role in making this exercise as realistic as they can. For sailors like Waters, they provided the additional waterway security and maritime combat capabilities necessary for the exercise.

"This exercise is important because it helps us to learn how to operate in joint task force environments," Waters said.

The skills and tactics refined during Bold Alligator will have a place not only among combat operations, but also with humanitarian assistance, emergency evacuation, flood and earthquake response, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel and counter piracy. After 10 years of focusing on ground combat, this is the first step for the Navy and Marine Corps team to return to their role as "warriors from the sea."