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Marine Forces Europe and Africa

United States Marine Corps

USAG Stuttgart, Germany
Marines, Georgians build interoperability during Agile Spirit 14 through live-fire training

By Lance Cpl. Scott Whiting | Marine Forces Europe and Africa | June 18, 2014

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Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James White, a corpsman with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, accurately fires an M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun on target during exercise Agile Spirit aboard Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled multilateral engagement hosted by Georgia that began in 2011 in order to strengthen the two countries by conducting brigade and battalion-level training engagements, to include small-unit interaction between the Marines and Georgians that demonstrates their commitments toward collective, global security. (Official Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting, BSRF PAO/ Released)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James White, a corpsman with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, accurately fires an M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun on target during exercise Agile Spirit aboard Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled multilateral engagement hosted by Georgia that began in 2011 in order to strengthen the two countries by conducting brigade and battalion-level training engagements, to include small-unit interaction between the Marines and Georgians that demonstrates their commitments toward collective, global security. (Official Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting, BSRF PAO/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiitng)


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Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James White, a corpsman with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, accurately fires an M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun on target during exercise Agile Spirit aboard Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled multilateral engagement hosted by Georgia that began in 2011 in order to strengthen the two countries by conducting brigade and battalion-level training engagements, to include small-unit interaction between the Marines and Georgians that demonstrates their commitments toward collective, global security. (Official Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting, BSRF PAO/ Released)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James White, a corpsman with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, accurately fires an M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun on target during exercise Agile Spirit aboard Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled multilateral engagement hosted by Georgia that began in 2011 in order to strengthen the two countries by conducting brigade and battalion-level training engagements, to include small-unit interaction between the Marines and Georgians that demonstrates their commitments toward collective, global security. (Official Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting, BSRF PAO/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiitng)


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Sergeant Timothy Carkhuff, an 81mm mortar section leader with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, precisely fires his M4 rifle on target during exercise Agile Spirit aboard Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled multilateral engagement hosted by Georgia that began in 2011 in order to strengthen the two countries by conducting brigade and battalion-level training engagements, to include small-unit interaction between the Marines and Georgians that demonstrates their commitments toward collective, global security. (Official Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting, BSRF PAO/ Released)

Sergeant Timothy Carkhuff, an 81mm mortar section leader with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, precisely fires his M4 rifle on target during exercise Agile Spirit aboard Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled multilateral engagement hosted by Georgia that began in 2011 in order to strengthen the two countries by conducting brigade and battalion-level training engagements, to include small-unit interaction between the Marines and Georgians that demonstrates their commitments toward collective, global security. (Official Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting, BSRF PAO/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiitng)


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Lance Cpl. Kyle McNicholas, an infantryman with Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon during exercise Agile Spirit aboard Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled multilateral engagement hosted by Georgia that began in 2011 in order to strengthen the two countries by conducting brigade and battalion-level training engagements, to include small-unit interaction between the Marines and Georgians that demonstrates their commitments toward collective, global security. (Official Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting, BSRF PAO/ Released)

Lance Cpl. Kyle McNicholas, an infantryman with Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon during exercise Agile Spirit aboard Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled multilateral engagement hosted by Georgia that began in 2011 in order to strengthen the two countries by conducting brigade and battalion-level training engagements, to include small-unit interaction between the Marines and Georgians that demonstrates their commitments toward collective, global security. (Official Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting, BSRF PAO/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiitng)


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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Abdur Mann of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon during a live-fire exercise with Georgian soldiers during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Abdur Mann of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon during a live-fire exercise with Georgian soldiers during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas)


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U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Matthew J. Richey of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, explains the components and functionality of the AT-4 light anti-armor weapon to Georgian soldiers during a live-fire exercise at Agile Spirit 14, Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Matthew J. Richey of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, explains the components and functionality of the AT-4 light anti-armor weapon to Georgian soldiers during a live-fire exercise at Agile Spirit 14, Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas)


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U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Daniel Castro of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, sights in and fires his M4 service rifle on target during a live-fire exercise as part of exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Daniel Castro of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, sights in and fires his M4 service rifle on target during a live-fire exercise as part of exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas)


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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joseph Wilhelm, right, fires an M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun as Lance Cpl. Daniel Holt, left, assists. Both Marines are assigned to Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and were conducting a course of fire that also included the M4 service rifle and the M249 light machine gun during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joseph Wilhelm, right, fires an M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun as Lance Cpl. Daniel Holt, left, assists. Both Marines are assigned to Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and were conducting a course of fire that also included the M4 service rifle and the M249 light machine gun during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas)


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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kyle McNicholas of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon during a live-fire exercise along with Georgian soldiers during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kyle McNicholas of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon during a live-fire exercise along with Georgian soldiers during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas)


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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. John Hall, right, assisted by Cpl. Dylan Hanks, both of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun while conducting a course of fire that also included the M4 service rifle and the M249 light machine gun during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. John Hall, right, assisted by Cpl. Dylan Hanks, both of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun while conducting a course of fire that also included the M4 service rifle and the M249 light machine gun during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas)


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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew Weems of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon while conducting live fire along with Georgian soldiers during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew Weems of Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fires an AT-4 light anti-armor weapon while conducting live fire along with Georgian soldiers during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas)


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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Aaron Keene of Black Sea Rotational Force from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment fires an M249 light machine gun during a course of fire that also included the M4 service rifle and the M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Aaron Keene of Black Sea Rotational Force from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment fires an M249 light machine gun during a course of fire that also included the M4 service rifle and the M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun during exercise Agile Spirit 14 at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 11, 2014. This fourth iteration of the Agile Spirit exercise will run until 21 June, and includes live-fire training and a field exercise with both countries. The exercise is conducted with the Georgian Armed Forces within the Vaziani Training Area to increase partnership capacity and interoperability between the two nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas, 2nd Marine Division, Combat Camera/ Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha A. Barajas)


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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Georgia --

Exercise Agile Spirit 14 started with a “bang” as Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, fired on various weapon ranges with soldiers of the Georgian Armed Forces in the Vaziani Training Area, Georgia, June 10-11, 2014.

Agile Spirit 14 is an annually-scheduled bilateral engagement hosted by Georgia that began in 2011 in order to strengthen interoperability between the two countries by conducting brigade and battalion-level training engagements, to include small-unit interaction between the Marines and Georgians that demonstrates their commitments toward collective, global security.

“The ranges were pretty well-paced,” said Lance Cpl. Patrick Phelan, a forward observer with 81mm Platoon, Weapons Co. “It gave some Marines the opportunity to fire a lot of weapon systems they don’t normally fire. There were known range shoots, which is always good practice for us. The machine gun range builds familiarity with those of us who don’t typically get time to fire (heavy machine guns).”

The Marines and Georgians fired the M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun, the M249 light machine gun, the M240B medium machine gun, the AT-4 anti-tank weapon system and the Light Armor Weapon trainers, along with their standard service rifles, the M4 and M16, and M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle.

“These are weapons organic to an infantry unit,” Phelan said. “These are all things we should be familiar with. We won’t always be using our service rifles; we may have to pick up a machine gun and know how to use it.”

These live-fire weapon ranges set the tone for the rest of the exercise.

“This really joins the Marines and Georgian soldiers at the hips,” said Capt. Thomas Perna, the platoon commander for the Combined Anti-Armor Team, Weapons Company. “The more exposure we have to each other’s techniques, we can integrate and operate more effectively and focus on the nuts and bolts of making a cohesive unit together.”

Next on tap for the Marines and Georgians is lane training, where they’ll train together in reacting to different scenarios, to include improvised explosive devices, cordoning and searching, and security patrolling.

“I think (Agile Spirit) is a great opportunity to build those relationships,” Perna said. “We’re teaching them things, and they’re teaching us a lot as well. They do some things differently, which is good because it exposes us to a different mindset. I’m excited to see what happens during the rest of the exercise.”

Black Sea Rotational Force 14 is a rotational contingent of Marines and sailors positioned to build robust military relations with partner nations, increase regional stability and enable interoperability while providing the capability for contingency response, as directed by U.S. European Command, in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions of Eastern Europe.



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