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Marine Forces Europe and Africa

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USAG Stuttgart, Germany
Practice Makes Perfect: BSRF 18.1 Marines conduct DFT in Bulgaria

By | Marine Corps Forces Europe | July 24, 2018

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U.S. Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 18.1 (BSRF) completed several ranges during a Deployment for Training (DFT) exercise at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, from July 1-5, 2018.

The BSRF 18.1 force, consisting of Marines from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, spent five days in the field, working to improve combined arms proficiency and enhance operational capabilities.

“We are here in Bulgaria to enhance our combined arms capabilities as a weapons company for the BSRF,” said Cpl. Benjamin Lepla, a forward observer with BSRF. “We don’t always get together as a company and do these combined training events, so as a whole, it improves our unit cohesion.”

The Marines deployed from their main base in Romania to an area in Bulgaria where they would be able to take advantage of the rough, verdurous terrain for multiple training events.

“During this training event we had snipers conducting everything from unknown distance ranges to live-fire stalks,” said 1st Lt. Daniel Kult, a Combined Anti-Armor Team (CAAT) platoon commander. “We had [CAAT] platoon conducting high-angle Mark 19 fire which is a new thing for us. We also had our 81mm mortar platoon conducting dismounted and mounted live-fire operations, both day and night.”

Each platoon in Weapons Company normally operates independently in support of the battalion, so any opportunity they have to train with one another allows them to learn what they can improve.

“Now we know how long it takes for every section to set up their equipment and assault the objective from different positions,” said Lepla.

The DFT was designed to help its Marines understand their roles and prepare them for the final day of training.

“The most important event that we’re doing out here is the combined attack utilizing the entire company,” said Kult. “It’s a unique opportunity because normally we’re all away from each other, either supporting other companies, or in direct support of the battalion.”

Kult also said the Marines appreciated working diligently together and understood how the training tied into the BSRF deployment.

“Any chance we get to improve our skills and learn more about the other sections of the company makes [it] all the better,” said Lepla. “Working together going forward into further exercises with partner nations, we’re better prepared.”
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