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Marines Return To Roots With Calif. Beach-Storming

— The Marines have landed.

About 5,000 Marines and Navy sailors completed the largest amphibious exercise on the West Coast since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Brig. Gen. Rex McMillan complimented the effort Friday as he stood on a bluff at Camp Pendleton watching a dozen seafaring tanks hit the Southern California beach with their company helicopters.

The exercise came as Defense Secretary Robert Gates has questioned the value of beach landings. Gates is scrutinizing every aspect of the military in his search for roughly $10 billion in annual savings.

McMillan says the Marines who have been in landlocked wars are learning skills for combat as well as humanitarian missions.

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