After Early Troubles, New Marine Corps Amphibious Vehicle Is Headed to Okinawa

by Braxton Taylor

After more than a year of restricted use, the Marine Corps’ new armored combat vehicle, or ACV, will deploy from the coast of California with a Marine expeditionary unit, the acting commandant of the service said Thursday.

The ACV replaced the aging and troubled amphibious assault vehicle after decades of use and a 2020 mishap that killed eight Marines and a Navy corpsman on the West Coast.

The replacement vehicle has had its own issues. In October 2022, an ACV rolled over, though no Marines or sailors were killed. In response, the Corps restricted operations of the vehicle. In July of that same year, two ACVs became disabled off of Camp Pendleton, California — again, no one was hurt.

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Now, after revamping the vehicle’s training program, the Corps is looking to push it into the Pacific with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU — a unit that experienced a deadly rollover with the ACV that killed one Marine last month, but that mishap occurred on land and not in the surf.

The vehicle deployment announcement was made by the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Chris Mahoney, during an event at the Hudson Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.

“The ACV will deploy with the 15th MEU, and we’ve started protected waterborne [operations]. We have very detailed checklist criteria to get that platform back into unprotected waters and we’re working on that, but I am confident we will get to the … level we need to be confident in rough sea states,” Mahoney said Thursday.

“She will deploy with 15th MEU and then become part of the Okinawa contingent once they get out there,” he added in response to a question from USNI News.

The eight-wheeled ACV is meant to bolster the Marine Corps’ ability to get its troops to shore. The vehicles are transported on ships and can ride the surf close to shore during assaults and landings.

Defense News reported last week that the 15th MEU will deploy with the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group over the next few months.

In response to the 2022 rollover, the Marine Corps said it revamped its training for the landing craft, including recertifying all of the crews.

Early last year, the Marine Corps fired the commander in charge of the Assault Amphibian School, who was responsible for training Marines in ACV operations and maintenance.

Related: Marines Fire Commander of Assault Amphibian School After Vehicle Mishap

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