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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

The US Marines Are Waging Island Warfare Against China (In a Wargame)

Sergeant Alexander M. Tryon scans the surrounding area for enemy forces during a vertical assault Dec. 10 at Combat Town. After acquiring a strong foothold within the town, the Marines cleared all of the buildings and searched for simulated high-value individuals. Tryon, from Cortland, Ohio, is a scout sniper with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The US Marines are getting ready for the unthinkable: war with China – As the world is watching the situation in Ukraine with bated breath, thousands of U.S. Marines teamed up with a US Navy carrier strike group in one of the largest shows of force in the Indo-Pacific.

Jungle Warfare Exercise 22 

For the past week, 7,500 Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force simulated the defense of an island from a Chinese military invasion. The USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group supported the Marines with integrated naval and air power.

The exercise was designed to hone distributed operations in the jungle and maritime warfare environments. As the Indo-Pacific area of operations is largely made up of these two environments, the ability to operate in them seamlessly and with the same effectiveness in other geographical areas will be crucial, especially in the event of an incident or conflict with China.

“This exercise showcases the teamwork and integration between the Navy and Marine Corps in the Indo-Pacific. It allows our multi-domain forces to rehearse combat missions to bolster our collective capability and readiness. Our continued participation in these joint and combined exercises demonstrates our commitment to our allies and partners in the region to protect our collective interests, enhance our security, and safeguard our shared values,” Rear Admiral J. T. Anderson, the commanding officer of Carrier Strike Group 3, said in a press release.

In addition to the Marines on the ground, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps aircraft simulated air superiority missions on the air. The air package included F-35B/C Lightning II, F/A-18 Super Hornets, EA-18G Hornets, and F-15 Strike Eagles.

“Each mission focused on the refinement of new tactics, techniques, procedures, and technologies such as rapid dispersion and utilization of a digitally interoperable kill chain,” Colonel Cristopher Murray, the commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 36, stated.

The Marines on the ground conducted a 700-mile insertion to the simulated battlefield supported by MV-22B Osprey and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters.

“One of the new ways we are experimenting is utilizing the Navy’s small boat squadrons to retrieve re-supply bundles intentionally delivered by both Air Force and Marine Corps aircraft into pre-determined water drop zones. This exercise showcased the ability of joint forces to rapidly mobilize, integrate, and provide flexible logistics solutions to sustain combat momentum,” Lieutenant Colonel Brett Bohne, the commanding officer of Combat Logistics Battalion 4, said.

On the Defensive 

U.S. and allied forces in the Indo-Pacific have the disadvantage of being on the defensive. Were a war to break out in the region, it would most likely be caused by a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Beijing has repeatedly reiterated its goal of reunification with Taipei. And the Chinese Communist Party has indicated that this will happen preferably by peaceful means, but if necessary, by force.

As a result, the U.S. military and its allies need to be able to react quickly to a Chinese attack and reinforce islands. So, training events such as Jungle Warfare Exercise 22 are of vital importance.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.



  1. Brian Foley

    February 21, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    As part of an overall larger strategy, sure, Marines taking small Islands from the Chinese is a great idea. But if it isn’t part of a “Bigger Picture” than it’s a recipe for disaster. Imagine the “Island Hopping” starts off well, and the Marines seize all of their objectives (which personally I don’t doubts for a second), what happens to them if the Communists maintain control of the air space in the South China Sea. So, for the Marines to be grabbing Islands the US had better be ready to go “Whole Hog” or stay on the porch.

  2. Alex

    February 21, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    What is the US doing in the zone of responsibility and at the borders of another state? It is worth understanding that the United States is unable to fight either Kit or Russia on their territories. Pushing NATO to war, you should know that ordinary Europeans will not fight and, as a last resort, will throw down their government, which acts to please the United States. We remember the war on our lands. This time it will be on US soil if the US goes too far.


    February 21, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    I would like to know what retired Marine General and former SecDef Jim Mattis feels and thinks of Commandant Berger’s Force Design 2030 restructure and sweeping changes of Marine infantry war-fighting resources, and close air support.

  4. Michael Kearins

    February 21, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    The Corps is weaker now because of the elimination of the artillery and tanks in place of a limited amount of expensive missiles. The navys job is to buy those missiles to protect the Corps and the stupid decision to eliminate the artillery and tanks will cost many lives until they bring back those support elements in an emergency situation that will take time to rebuild.

  5. truthalwayswinsout

    February 21, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    If they are taking the islands as a means to attack and destroy communist sea power great.

    But as shown by the Japanese in WWII taking islands and defending them is not a good strategy.

    Taking and holding key choke points to stop communist world trade is an excellent idea as Communist China will starve to death in 3-4 months.

  6. Matthew H Jacobs

    February 21, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    IMO China will adopt the same Island Hoping strategy we used during WW2 in the pacific…Cut them off from resupply and starve them to death

  7. A Horvath

    February 21, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    The weak link in this strategy is the US Navy that is not ready for prime time with a near peer competitor. The lightly armed Marines will be left stranded and starved out of existence on small distant islands in the pacific.

  8. Lsi

    February 22, 2022 at 6:52 am

    We‘re great at fighting the last war!

  9. L Singh

    February 23, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    It’s not a show around of a few ships and some planes in the South China Seas. US and its lapdog allies have to decide how many lapdog soldiers will die, 100,000 or 1,000,000? they have to decide for how long they want to die in the South China Seas, 20, 40, or 100 years? They can use their defeat by Talibans in Afghanistan as reference. With the most modern, powerful and deadly weapons, US and it’s lapdog allies took 20 years and lost thousands of its lapdog soldiers to the Taliban tribal militia. They disgracefully and shamelessly cut and ran away from Afghanistan with their tails between their legs. UK, the no. one US lapdog Defence Minister Ben Wallace was crying for not being able to help its soldiers back from Afghanistan when their master US runaway. BE WARNED⚠️ It will be more hellish, damn horrendous in the South China Seas!???☠️

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