Members of the 1st Marine Division stormed beaches on Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms Monday morning as part of Operation Steel Knight.
About 10,000 Marines and sailors took part. The youngest ones have little experience with such training.
For the past decade, the military has been focused on counterinsurgency operations and as a result the Marine Corps distanced itself from its amphibious heritage.
"Many of our Marines have not been involved in Amphibious operations so we have to start from ground zero and making sure that those Marines who are very good at counterinsurgency, now upgrade their skill-set in amphibious operations," Division commander Maj. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey said.
In January, president Obama laid out his plans for the military—stating that the services will move past the the long term nation-building performed in Iraq and Afghanistan and will ensure the nation’s security with smaller conventional forces.
in addition, he announced a strengthening of presence in the Asia Pacific.
Commanders immediately reacted to the news.
"When the president said, turn and focus on (the Asia Pacific) that is what the United States Marine Corps is doing in terms of our preparation and training and to make sure all of our skill sets are where they should be in order to respond to that requirement," Bailey said.
The region could require the Marine Corps to conduct amphibious landings for combat and humanitarian missions . The training—which began last month an ends Dec. 18—allows Marines and sailors to gain the skills necessary to brings troops to land by sea.
Lt. Col. Howard Hall, commander of the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion is one of the few Marines whose career has allowed him to maintain his skills for beach landings.
"What we’re going through here is going to pay dividends for the 1st Marine Division and the Marine Corps going into the future regardless of what mission is handed to us, we’re getting critical training right here, today," he said.