Minas De Alquife, Spain -- U.S. Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa ground combat element conducted a theater-security cooperation exercise with Spanish special operations forces at Minas De Alquife, Spain.
The exercise was composed primarily of urban operations training. Marines covered exterior and interior movement, and addressed navigating through specific urban terrain features such as stairwells and hallways. Marines were also tested on qualifications in combat life saver, order writing, terrain models, radio operating, and night operations. An explosive ordnance disposal team also assisted by teaching participates about improvised explosive devices, weapons caches, and labs.
Staff Sgt. Nomeli VargasMena, the platoon sergeant for a platoon taking part in training, highlighted how this training has helped out his Marines.
"When you're shooting and moving on the battlefield, it's chaotic," says VargasMena, "You have to work with a platoon a long time before you fully understand each other enough to pick up everything, but eventually you start to read your teams’ non-verbal cues and you know what you need to do automatically."
Communication is characterized by three elements- sender, receiver, and message. Miscommunications occur when the sender codes or the receiver decodes a message incorrectly. Battlefield disruptions in communication are cliché, but have the potential for real problems. A team lacking adequate skills can become slow or grind entirely to a halt. With the diversity of individuals enlisted in the Marine Corps, repetition is the key to learning to work together. Infantry platoons rehearse and discuss their tactics constantly in order to meet the high proficiency standards the Marine Corps is known for.
Spanish SOF also displayed their version of urban operations for the Marines, and participated in a joint final exercise wherein the units combined efforts to take down a notional terrorist cell in a small town. The training covered four days and lent Marines more than 40 hours of exercise time in a complex urban environment. The engagement took place in order to enhance NATO interoperability, exchange unit tactics, and strengthen diplomatic relationships.