U.S. Marines inspect vehicles on the pier aside the USNS Sgt. William R. Button during a Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) as they prepare for NATO-led Exercise Trident Juncture 2015. More than 30 nations and 36,000 service members are participating in the event, Rota, Spain, Oct. 21, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/Released)

U.S. Marines inspect vehicles on the pier aside the USNS Sgt. William R. Button during a Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) as they prepare for NATO-led Exercise Trident Juncture 2015. More than 30 nations and 36,000 service members are participating in the event, Rota, Spain, Oct. 21, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston/Released)

Marine reservists participating in NATO’s largest amphibious exercise in more than a decade are putting new sea-basing concepts to the test, proving the usefulness of staging gear afloat in a post-war operating environment.

One of the main challenges of unpredictable amphibious operations is providing forces with the goods and gear they need to sustain themselves, said Lyle Layher, the pre-positioning officer for Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa. That makes the ability to link ground forces with vessels like the maritime pre-positioning ship Sgt. William R. Button more important than ever.

To test the concept, Marines conducted an offload Oct. 21, in Rota, Spain, to supply 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion during Exercise Trident Juncture. Gear was taken off the ship to give 4th LAR Marines the vehicles and fuel they need to assault 300 miles inland, where they will participate in a battlefield scenario with allied NATO forces.

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