Exercise Southern Strike – SOF Training

Marine special operators training during Exercise Southern Strike in Mississippi (photo MARSOC)
Marine special operators training during Exercise Southern Strike in Mississippi October 2016 (photo MARSOC)

Exercise Southern Strike was recently conducted in Mississippi by special operations and conventional forces. The exercise took place at the Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, Mississippi in October 2016. This was a “. . . total force, multi-service training exercise hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard.

“The exercise emphasized air-to-air, air-to-ground and special operations forces training opportunities. These events are integrated into demanding hostile and asymmetric scenarios with actions from specialized ground forces and combat and mobility air forces.” [1]

Some of the air units that participated in Exercise Southern Strike included the 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 172nd Airlift Wing, Garudas of Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ-134 (EA-18G Growlers), and 1st Special Operations Wing. Special operations aircraft included AC-130U Spooky Gunship, MC-130H Combat Talon II, CV-22 Osprey, and U-28 aircraft.

Ground units were from the Navy special operations, and Marine special operations (MARSOC). In total, over 2,200 service members participated in the two-week long exercise. Some of the scenarios included air supremacy, close air support, en route casualty care, MEDEVACs, non-combatant evacuation, maritime, and riverine special operations.


Watch a video of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft and aircrews arriving to take part in the exercise. [2] Part of Exercise Southern Strike was conducted at Camp Shelby Joint Force Training Center in Mississippi. A 6-min long video records Special Operations Marines conducting a raid on a village, calling in a nine line for wounded personnel, and providing suppressive fire for a downed MH-60 Black Hawk. [3]


[1] Paragraph in quotes taken from Southern Strike, DVIDS, 23 Oct 2016.

[2] Southern Strike23 October 2016, Video by Airman 1st Class Maygan Straight, 1st Combat Camera Squadron.

[3] Southern Strike, November 3, 2016. Video by SSG Laura Beckley, 1st Combat Camera Squadron.

News Reports:

“Southern Strike kicks off in Mississippi”, 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs, October 25, 2016.

“Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport hosting Southern Strike 2017”, WLOX.com, October 21, 2017.


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