Marines practice amphibious war, storm US beaches

BROCK VERGAKIS MICHAEL FELBERBAUM Associated Press Published:

ABOARD THE USS WASP (AP) -- Thousands of Marines are storming U.S. shores to train for a more modern version of the well-known beach assaults conducted during World War II.

Military officials say the operation being conducted in Virginia and North Carolina is the largest amphibious training exercise they've attempted in at least a decade.

Marines have been fighting wars in landlocked countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and many have never even set foot on a Navy ship. That's of particular concern as the military shifts its strategic focus toward the coastal regions of the Middle East and the Pacific, where landing a force entirely by air or from a friendly country might not be possible.

About 3,500 Marines made landfall on the beaches near Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Virginia Beach beginning Monday.