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Marine Forces Europe and Africa

United States Marine Corps

USAG Stuttgart, Germany
Marines, Macedonians, Armenians participate in combined training

By Cpl. Paul Zellner | | June 1, 2012

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Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force 12 participated in combined training with Macedonian and Armenian soldiers on Babadag Training Area in Romania, April 2-11.

"The purpose of this training is to enhance interoperability with our partnered allies in peacekeeping and counterinsurgency skills,” said Capt. Adam Steele, Ground Combat Element Executive Officer, BSRF 12. “We are here to enable the training to be done in a safe and professional environment.”

The training included live-fire ranges for machine guns, close quarters combat, marksmanship skills and designated marksmanship training. Marines gave weapons and range safety classes to the soldiers through an interpreter before beginning to fire.

“We bring the months and years of Marine Corps experience to share with these men,” said Steele. “Our hope is that the Macedonian and Armenian soldiers can go back to their countries with a better understanding and readiness for future joint training with us,” said Steele.

Rain fell throughout the morning but did not hold up the training. The service members worked together to keep the firing range running safely and smoothly.

“This is a great opportunity to enhance our readiness abilities and skills,” said Col. Artak Tonoyan, deputy commander of the Armenian peacekeeping brigade. “It also promotes good cooperation with U.S. and our other peace-keeping partners.”

The firing range isn’t the first time these countries have worked together. All three nations have members of their militaries deployed as part of the International Security Assistance Force to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“This also increases our knowledge as we prepare to participate in future ISAF missions,” said Tonoyan. “This is a well-organized training and an important experience for our sergeants and we are grateful for the opportunity to train and prepare to work side by side.”

The training is part of the Black Sea Rotational Force’s six-month deployment which includes training exercises with 19 nations planned throughout the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucusus regions. The Black Sea Rotational Force is a Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force with crisis response capabilities deployed to the region to enhance interoperability, promote regional stability and build camaraderie amongst the forces.


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