RAS AL-KHAIR, Saudi Arabia --
RAS AL-KHAIR, Saudi Arabia (March 1, 2020) – Marines and Sailors with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) and the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in bilateral training with Royal Saudi Naval Forces beginning Feb. 19, 2020, in the vicinity of Ras Al-Khair, Saudi Arabia.
The bilateral training in Saudi Arabia included Weapons Company from the Battalion Landing Team (BLT), 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, conducting live-fire ranges, mounted live-fire ranges, demolitions and tactical lifesaving skills training in support of routine sustainment training.
“With the integration of the ship, ship-to-shore connectors, and all of the planning that goes into these higher-level operations, I think we got a really good rep in for being prepared for a crisis response,” said Capt. Logan Giger, company commander for Weapons Company.
The valuable training executed by the Marines and Sailors in Ras Al-Khair provided an opportunity to enhance capabilities and critical mission sets for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team comprising the BATARG.
“In the Central Command Area of Responsibility there are a lot of threats, and our partners in this region are very important,” said Giger. “Anything we can do to strengthen those relationships, build those bonds and increase familiarity will always be a benefit for our force.”
Weapons Company utilized the BATARG’s landing craft, air cushions to transport all personnel and equipment ashore as an integrated, blue-green team for the training evolution.
According to 1st Lt. Connor Allen, Light Armored Reconnaissance platoon commander, the benefits of this type of training confirmed the MEU was able to operate in a different environment and had the ability to work to the left and right of Saudi partners – while integrating as an entire company for a ship-to-shore movement.
The sea-launched, bilateral training enhanced the readiness of the BATARG and proved its ability to counter transregional terrorism with coalition forces through maritime operations.
“The 26 MEU, BLT and Weapons Company did a good job proving we can take a short planning time frame, work with some key partners in the CENTCOM AOR and come up with some great training over the course of a couple of days,” said Giger.