U.S. and partner forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are set to conclude this year’s large-scale exercise showcasing the three countries’ combined logistics capabilities.

The U.S. Marine Corps-led Native Fury 24 — an exercise that’s in its ninth iteration this year — put combined, joint interoperability to the test through a series of complex logistics maneuvers, dynamic combat training evolutions, and convoys spanning more than 1,000 miles across two countries. 

More than 600 Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen and took part in Native Fury 24 alongside their partner nation counterparts. 

This year marked the first time the exercise has featured bilateral operations with both the Royal Saudi Armed Forces and United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. 

The exercise began earlier this month when equipment was offloaded at Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu Port on the Red Sea. The equipment was then transported to a logistics staging area where it was prepared for the long-range convoy along the Trans-Arabian Network, a collection of seaports, airports and road networks connecting countries throughout the Arabian Peninsula.  

Along the way, the U.S. conducted bi-lateral, live-fire and airport-repair training alongside the Royal Saudi Armed Forces at the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, before conducting a border crossing into the UAE.  

Once in the UAE, the U.S. and UAE forces conducted convoy training, as well as refueling operations on Emirati helicopters.  

Throughout the journey, U.S. Army forces leapfrogged the Marine Corps-led convoy to set up facilities for overnight stops.  

The convoy ended at the UAE Port of Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman where the equipment was loaded onto a vessel for transport back the U.S.  

Marine Corps Col. Matthew Hakola, director of logistics for Marine Corps Forces Central Command and the exercise control group director for Native Fury 24, said the exercise serves as key demonstration of the United States’ ability to carry out complex, combined, joint exercises with partner nations.  

“I think we are the best in the world at this type of thing — being able to cross the Atlantic with equipment and unload it in a relatively rapid manner and, more importantly, being able to support it once it’s on the ground,” Hakola said.  

Those complex logistics, he said, are vital to the United States’ ability to operate anywhere around the globe.  

Throughout the exercise, the U.S. built upon important partnerships with the Saudi and Emirati forces, said Hakola, who served as the exercise control group director for the previous iteration of Native Fury.  

He said this year it was evident that the three countries had made long strides in working together. 

“I definitely saw marked improvement from the last Native Fury to this Native Fury on them thinking through the same problem sets that we think through,” Hakola said. “The coordination [and] the inter-ministry coordination they provided was almost seamless.” 

Exercising that coordination is key to operating together effectively in the event of a real-world scenario.  

The exercise also provides an opportunity for U.S. service members to build the bonds with their foreign counterparts that are important to operating effectively together.  

“That’s probably the most professionally rewarding part of it,” he said. “We’re all humans, and it’s just rewarding in that sense, and they’ve been great hosts,” Hakola said. 

“It’s been a very successful exercise.”

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