Nigeria; perfect setting for unique multinational Marine exercise
By Sgt. Marco Mancha
| | October 29, 2013
LAGOS, Nigeria --
Southern Nigeria is known for its riverines, dense foliage and abundance of wildlife. The sandy shores and lush green trails run for miles. The atmosphere, complete with humidity and an ever shining sun, staged an environment for the international forces of Africa Partnership Station 13 to conduct their training in some challenging tropical conditions.
Still, the U.S. Marines participated in a exercise focusing on riot control, riverine operations, ambush reaction drills and more.
Each exercise, led by British Marine forces, challenged the U.S. troops through different scenarios focusing on all aspects of military tactics. The first station concentrated on riot control, and the escalation of force in a non-lethal environment.
“The point of today was to give the lads some realistic training in public order situations,” said British Royal Marine Color Sgt. David Morris, the lead jungle warfare instructor for his unit. “Riots can quickly get out of hand in a real situation, so making the training as realistic as possible allows the troops to conquer their fears if it really happened. Overall the guys did very well ... and it was very good.”
The U.S. and Spanish Marines faced a mob of more than 20 role players who tried their best to be as genuine as possible and break the riot control line. The effort involved throwing kicks and elbows, as well as all types of foreign objects to include bags of sand, coconuts, sand, rocks, and more.
“I think the Marines did great,” said Cpl. Taylor Mabry, a fire team leader with APS 13. “The shield line was definitely where we faced adversity because we had trained over and over again, gone through the non-lethal course, done it a certain way and that was the only way we knew how to do it. So, we had to overcome the British way of doing it, but it worked out in the end and we made it work for ourselves, and I think we were pretty successful at it.”
This unique type of military training is something many U.S. forces don’t get to participate in. The Spanish and U.S. Marines loaded small river boats and headed for an assault on a beach less than a mile away.
There, a fire team of British role players awaited the Marines with blank ammunition, smoke and flash grenades in preparation to attack. The group of Spanish and U.S. warriors quickly reacted by firing blank rounds as they assaulted the beach in the direction of the role players.
“The most important part of this training was the integration,” said British Royal Marine Capt. Christopher Shirley, the second in command for his unit. “We are all part of a multinational landing force, each having different ways of approaching the same problem. So with this, we are refining our own tactics and procedures for the benefit of all the multinational Marines.”
After the assault on a couple of beaches, the U.S. and Spanish Marines took on their final exercise. The challenge was to counter an enemy ambush with little to no time to spare.
The exercise lasted more than three hours and consisted of reconnaissance, patrolling, and hasty maneuvering toward the enemy role players. Hasty ambush drills, although this one was tailored to a jungle environment, can be utilized in any sort of atmosphere.
“The training we received today is very useful to have gone through,” said Mabry. “It’s not every day you get to do these kinds of things, and having that under our belts, in my opinion, makes us that much better as a unit and fighting force.”
A mix of tiresome and accomplishment, Marines made their way back to their meeting site as the day drew to a close. Each force seemed to have exhausted all energy that day with such a high tempo schedule.
“Each country took away their own element of the training,” concluded Shirley. “I think it’s been a really great opportunity to work with such a broad range of multinational forces and nations, and I’m really pleased to enjoy the integration that the training offers with our international brethren.”