ACV platoon conducts waterborne training during first operational deployment

By Nick Wilson / May 9, 2024 at 1:10 PM

The Marine Corps tallied its first overseas use of Amphibious Combat Vehicles during a May 4 training exercise that saw the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s ACV platoon complete waterborne, live-fire training off the coast of the Philippines during Exercise Balikatan.

During the exercise, ACVs launched from the well deck of amphibious warship Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) and formed into assault sections before firing 40mm training rounds at shore-based targets using their Mk 19 grenade machine guns, according to a service release.

Harpers Ferry and the embarked ACV platoon departed from Southern California on March 19, marking the first ACV operational deployment.

“During this first deployment, 15th MEU will continue to provide insights for ACV employment, embarkation, maintenance requirements, logistics trains, and integration with our allies and partners,” the service announcement states. “These insights are vital for the service to ensure we continue to provide our Marines with the most operationally ready and capable platforms.”

The ACV is an important platform for Marine Corps force design and Indo-Pacific operating concepts, providing ship-to-shore mobility and a variety of other capabilities. Though nearly 200 of the vehicles have been delivered to the Marine Corps to date, readiness kinks have slowed down fielding and operational use.

A series of training accidents, in which ACVs rolled over during waterborne exercises, prompted the Marine Corps to temporarily pause some vehicle operations and later launch initiatives to improve operator proficiency.

Now, with efforts to retrain ACV drivers and procure training simulators underway, the service is advancing fielding efforts, program manager Col. Tim Hough said last week. In June, the service plans to send 12 ACVs to the 4th Marine Regiment in Okinawa, Japan and will begin fielding to the 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion at Camp Lejeune, NC, in the second quarter of FY-25.