MIDDLE EAST --
More than 90 Marines and sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Battalion Landing Team 2/6’s Golf Company participated in bilateral infantry training with a Middle Eastern nation, from Nov. 18-24. “We were able to integrate with them and provide feedback on how they can improve their training and best utilize the weapons systems that they currently have organic to their units,” said Capt. Anthony Johnston, Golf Company’s commanding officer.
He continued, “In the time that was available, we were able to work in our own sustainment training as the motorized company conducted mounted operations on the ranges that were available. Both the U.S. Marines and [the Middle Eastern military members] were able to demonstrate their capabilities and exchange ideas at the tactical level, which was an incredibly positive experience.”
The bilateral training began with squad attacks and escalated to a full-on live fire exercise.
Even though there was a variety of training events, the Marines’ exercise focused on squad attacks and teamwork. The platoons also participated in dismounted platoon attacks with the Middle Eastern platoons.
"We were able to run a platoon motorized attack," said Johnston. The platoon established control of the company's area of operations, which had been a site of previous 'enemy' activity. Upon receiving a report on the current 'enemy' activity, the platoon executed a deliberate attack and cleared the objective.
The Marines also ran scenarios of contact with a deliberate in-stride breach, which is where a squad of engineer’s from BLT 2/6’s Fox Co. was utilized to clear an obstacle.
“The objective was to open the axis for the battalion attack, which had been blocked by the enemy,” Johnston said. “The full spectrum of supporting arms was incorporated, which allowed the company fire support team to support breaching operations.”
Despite the myriad of training events, none of them would have been possible if it were not for the range that was made available to the Marines.
“The range facility was great and allowed us to conduct both dismounted and mounted combined arms operations,” he said. “You are really only limited by your imagination when you have ranges like this.”
And of course, none of the training would have been possible if it had not been for the hospitality of the host nation.
“The Middle Eastern military was very cooperative and enjoyed the cultural exchange with the US Marines throughout the exercise,” Johnston said. Continuing, “I think the capabilities of both forces (were) demonstrated during the final exercise. Between the ability of the two nations staffs to plan, coordinate, and execute an amphibious assault from ship to shore was a testament to the professionalism and willingness to work together from both countries.”
The 26th MEU is currently forward deployed aboard the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group in the Arabian Gulf in support of local operations.
"The exercise was good," said Lance Cpl. Preston McIntire, a rifleman with Golf Co. "We got to see how the (host nation) Marines worked. They got to see how we worked."