Gidget Fuentes

About Gidget Fuentes

Gidget Fuentes is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She has spent more than 20 years reporting extensively on the Marine Corps and the Navy, including West Coast commands and Pacific regional issues, and most recently was a senior writer and the San Diego bureau chief for Marine Corps Times and Navy Times.


Recent Posts By the Author


Marines Retooling Infantry Training for Complex Warfare in Pacific

Marines Retooling Infantry Training for Complex Warfare in Pacific

U.S. Marines with Alpha Company, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry – West, take simulated artillery fire during the last event of a five-day capstone exercise for the Infantry Marine Course on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., on April 30, 2021. US Marine Corps

CAMP PENDLETON, CALIF. — After 20 years of counterinsurgency and low-end conflict in the Middle East, the Marines are rapidly retooling for a different kind of fight. Read More

VIDEO: SECDEF Austin, New INDOPACOM Head Affirm U.S. Commitment to Pacific During Change of Command

VIDEO: SECDEF Austin, New INDOPACOM Head Affirm U.S. Commitment to Pacific During Change of Command

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin delivers remarks during the change of command ceremony for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on April 30, 2021. DoD Photo

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command welcomed a new commander as Adm. Phil Davidson handed the leadership to Adm. John Aquilino in a Hawaii ceremony while Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin provided his first public comments on how the U.S. military will operate in the region. Read More

Marines: Limited AAV Operations on Water Resume As Vehicle Inspections, Unit Certifications Required in Fatal Sinking Aftermath

Marines: Limited AAV Operations on Water Resume As Vehicle Inspections, Unit Certifications Required in Fatal Sinking Aftermath

Marines with Marine Rotational Force-Europe 21.1, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, conduct a safety of use memorandum (SOUM) on an assault amphibious vehicle in preparation for Exercise Reindeer II, Reindeer I, and Joint Viking in Setermoen, Norway, Nov. 19, 2020. US Marine Corps Photo

Amphibious assault vehicle crews at Camp Pendleton, Calif., recently put their amtracs back in the water, the first operational unit to do so after the Marine Corps lifted a suspension that has been in place since last year’s deadly mishap off Southern California. Read More

Fleet Exercise Includes Live Missile Shoot as Navy Pairs Crews With Unmanned Systems 

Fleet Exercise Includes Live Missile Shoot as Navy Pairs Crews With Unmanned Systems 

Medium displacement unmanned surface vessels Seahawk, front, and Sea Hunter launch for the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problem 21 (UxS IBP 21), April 20, 2021. US Navy Photo

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Off the southern California coast this week, the Navy has amassed a small fleet to help figure how its operational forces can use aerial drones, autonomous surface and subsurface vehicles in an integrated fight at sea and in the air to support the manned fleet. Read More

French Navy Exercise Combines Ships from 5 Navies on Short Notice

French Navy Exercise Combines Ships from 5 Navies on Short Notice

U.S. Navy Ensign Micael Lozano, left, and Lt. Erik Bohman observe (from left to right) HMAS Anzac, IN Satpura, and FS Tonnerre from the bridge wing of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) during La Perouse 2021. US Navy Photo

Amphibious warship USS Somerset (LPD-25) joined ships and aircraft from five countries in the Bay of Bengal last week for a multi-lateral exercise designed to help the navies quickly organize and operate as an integrated, combined maritime force. Read More

Marines Launch Investigation into 15th MEU After Fatal AAV Incident

Marines Launch Investigation into 15th MEU After Fatal AAV Incident

Marines with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, operate AAV-P7/A1 assault amphibious vehicles into the well deck of the amphibious landing dock USS Somerset (LPD-25) on July 27, 2020. US Marines Photo

The Marine Corps has begun a deeper investigation into the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, after an amphibious assault vehicle sank last year during an integrated Marine Corps-Navy exercise off Southern California killing nine, the service announced Tuesday. Read More

Marine Corps Begins to Address Factors, Shortfalls Identified in Fatal AAV Mishap

Marine Corps Begins to Address Factors, Shortfalls Identified in Fatal AAV Mishap

U.S. Marines and Sailors with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division conduct a mechanized raid with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion during their Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation (MCCRE) at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 17, 2020. US Marine Corps Photo

Last summer’s fatal sinking of an amphibious assault vehicle that killed nine has exposed serious shortfalls in unit training and evaluation, command oversight, communication and readiness accountability throughout the chain of command in the Marine Corps and the Navy, an investigation found. Read More

Investigation: 7-Month-Long ‘Chain of Failure’ Led to 9 Killed in AAV Sinking

Investigation: 7-Month-Long ‘Chain of Failure’ Led to 9 Killed in AAV Sinking

Marines with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, operate AAV-P7/A1 assault amphibious vehicles into the well deck of the amphibious landing dock USS Somerset (LPD-25) on July 27, 2020. US Marines Photo

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The July drowning deaths of eight Marines and a sailor who sank with their amphibious assault vehicle off a California island were the result of poor training, a vehicle in “horrible condition,” and lapsed safety procedures in a rush to deploy an operational AAV platoon, according to a command investigation of the incident reviewed this week by USNI News. Read More

Schultz: Coast Guard Units Remain in High Demand as Forces Stretches to Meet Needs

Schultz: Coast Guard Units Remain in High Demand as Forces Stretches to Meet Needs

Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the Coast Guard, speaks during the 2021 State of the Coast Guard Address in San Diego March 11, 2021. US Coast Guard Photo

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The Coast Guard remains in big demand at home and overseas as it continues to modernize the service and develop its force, the service’s top officer said in an annual address last week. Read More