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U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Vehicles launched from the well deck of Gunston Hall make their way to a beach in Djibouti. The Gunston Hall is part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.

U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Vehicles launched from the well deck of Gunston Hall make their way to a beach in Djibouti. The Gunston Hall is part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Vehicles launched from the well deck of Gunston Hall make their way to a beach in Djibouti. The Gunston Hall is part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.

U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Vehicles launched from the well deck of Gunston Hall make their way to a beach in Djibouti. The Gunston Hall is part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Two amphibious assault vehicles with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit reach the shore, each carrying about 20 combat-loaded Marines.

Two amphibious assault vehicles with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit reach the shore, each carrying about 20 combat-loaded Marines. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

The terrain is muddy and rocky as two amphibious assault vehicles with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit make their way up the beach.

The terrain is muddy and rocky as two amphibious assault vehicles with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit make their way up the beach. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

On the USS Gunston Hall sailors use cranes to move support equipment into the ship's well deck to load a landing craft that will transport it to the beach.

On the USS Gunston Hall sailors use cranes to move support equipment into the ship's well deck to load a landing craft that will transport it to the beach. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Chief Petty Officer Daniel Chavez, a craft master, navigates his landing craft carrying Marines from the USS Gunston Hall to the beach in Djibouti, where a base camp is being established.

Chief Petty Officer Daniel Chavez, a craft master, navigates his landing craft carrying Marines from the USS Gunston Hall to the beach in Djibouti, where a base camp is being established. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Seaman Robert Knight with Beach Master Unit Two waves a flag to signal an incoming landing craft from the USS Gunston Hall to the beach.  A U.S. Navy Beach Master Unit is responsible for coordinating landing craft operations and traffic on the beach. They are among the first units to arrive and the last to leave during an amphibious operation.

Seaman Robert Knight with Beach Master Unit Two waves a flag to signal an incoming landing craft from the USS Gunston Hall to the beach. A U.S. Navy Beach Master Unit is responsible for coordinating landing craft operations and traffic on the beach. They are among the first units to arrive and the last to leave during an amphibious operation. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

The Marines from the 22nd Marine Marine Expeditionary Unit set up base camp in Djibouti for a two-week exercise in a remote and rocky desert location.

The Marines from the 22nd Marine Marine Expeditionary Unit set up base camp in Djibouti for a two-week exercise in a remote and rocky desert location. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit exit a landing craft onto the beach in Djibouti. They come prepared to spend about two weeks in the field.

Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit exit a landing craft onto the beach in Djibouti. They come prepared to spend about two weeks in the field. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit await orders on the beach, after arriving on landing craft from the USS Gunston Hall.

Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit await orders on the beach, after arriving on landing craft from the USS Gunston Hall. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

The Navy's Beach Master Unit 2 coordinates the arrival of the landing craft and the unloading of equipment onto the beach in Djibouti, where Marines are establishing a base camp.

The Navy's Beach Master Unit 2 coordinates the arrival of the landing craft and the unloading of equipment onto the beach in Djibouti, where Marines are establishing a base camp. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit taking a break get unexpected visitors.

Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit taking a break get unexpected visitors. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Sgt. Matthew Willingham, a water-support technician, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit checks to ensure the purified sea water in the bladder is safe to drink.

Sgt. Matthew Willingham, a water-support technician, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit checks to ensure the purified sea water in the bladder is safe to drink. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Sgt. Robert Metcalf with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit watches over the beach from an observation post, as Marines work into the evening hours establishing a base camp along the shore.

Sgt. Robert Metcalf with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit watches over the beach from an observation post, as Marines work into the evening hours establishing a base camp along the shore. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

By evening the amphibious assault vehicles from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit push inland, where they encounter simulated enemy resistance.

By evening the amphibious assault vehicles from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit push inland, where they encounter simulated enemy resistance. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit playing the role of enemy resistance settle in for evening. They will spend the night in the field away from the base camp.

Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit playing the role of enemy resistance settle in for evening. They will spend the night in the field away from the base camp. (Hendrick Simoes/Stars and Stripes)

DJIBOUTI — The world may never see another amphibious landing like the ones that characterized the U.S. war effort in World War II.

Next month is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when 5,000 ships and landing craft transported 176,000 Allied troops directly to the beaches of Normandy.

During that war,a series of other massive landings were conducted in North Africa, Italy and across the Pacific. In the Korean War, troops were also moved in this way.

Today, the U.S. Marines maintain and exercise the capability to conduct “forced-entry operations,” but changes in technology have led to sweeping changes in tactics.

“We would never again do a kind of a Tarawa landing where we are landing into the face of the enemy defenses,” Brig. Gen. Gregg Olson, commander of Task Force 51/59, said last month, referring to the three-day battle in the Gilbert Islands in 1943 in which more than 3,500 were killed or wounded.

Olson, who is in charge of the amphibious forces deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet, said in an interview during an exercise here in mid-April that an amphibious landing today would likely involve using the inherent maneuverability of the U.S. military and essentially landing where the enemy is not.

“Move to the sound of the guns, but do so in a smarter way,” Olson said.

In this series of pictures on a beach in Djibouti, a location frequently used for Marine Corps exercises, members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit come ashore from the dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall to practice a modern-day beach landing. The exercise ran from April 15 through the end of the month.

simoes.hendrick@stripes.com


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