BABADAG TRAINING AREA, Romania --
Marines with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division assigned to Black Sea Rotational Force 14 got their first taste of what BSRF is all about by participating in their first international military exercise aboard Babadag Training Area in Romania March 26, 2014.
Black Sea Rotational Force 14 is a contingent of Marines and sailors tasked with maintaining positive relations with partner nations, regional stability and increasing interoperability while providing the capability for rapid crisis response, as directed by U.S. European Command, in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions of Eastern Europe.
Marines with BSRF-14 participated with Romanian service members of the 307th Naval Infantry Bn. in a live-fire maneuver range familiar to the Romanians.
The range broke the Marines and Romanians each into three-man teams, a change for the Marines used to the conventional four-man fire team concept. Each Marine took turns throwing two notional grenades each, then executing 15 pushups and 15 squads. After running to the next station, they loaded their weapons and began moving at a tactical patrol pace. They’d then drop into the kneeling or prone positions and they located targets and fired on them. After moving through most of the range, the last leg of the course was buddy-rushes while suppressing targets. The long range tested the Marines’ patience and endurance in effectively completing the course.
Romanian and American three-man teams would run side-by-side with each other during the course, and a couple three-man rotations even integrated the two nations together.
“We ran the range together with various team leaders,” said 2nd Lt. Joseph Kramer, a platoon commander with 3rd Bn., 8th Marines. “We had Marine team leaders in charge of Romanians, and we had Romanian team leaders in charge of Marines. It was some really good training working with people who don’t speak the same language. It makes you have to overcome that barrier in order to successfully accomplish the mission.”
After completing the range with the Romanians and U.S. Marines integrated together, the two services got a chance to talk to each other in a relaxed environment.
“Aside from crisis response, we also want to build that partner capacity together through interactions like the ones we had today after running the range,” Kramer said.
The Marines and Romanian service members compared everything from uniforms to weapon systems. The Romanians even challenged a couple Marines to see who could take apart and put together the Romanians’ AK-74 rifle faster.
“These are the kinds of things we like to see,” Kramer said. “It builds camaraderie between our nations and we’re hoping to continue this relationship throughout our rotation here.”