MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines and sailors with the 2013 iteration of the Black Sea Rotational Force conducted their first noncombatant evacuation mission rehearsal exercise the week of January 7.
The training consisted of dry runs and practice with the culminating event being an evaluation of the simulated evacuation control center where about 40 role playing civilians were evacuated during a simulated crisis.
The training went very smooth and even the role players were impressed with the timeliness and execution of the exercise.
“I spent seven to eight years in a refugee camp as a kid with barely anything to call my own, not even a pair of shoes, before I left my country, because of a civil war,” said Samuel Johnson, a role player from Marietta, Ga. “I know the feeling of going through an ECC, because I lived it and I was very impressed at how well the Marines took care of us and made sure we had everything we needed in the scenario.”
The Marines knew they were a part of a simulated ECC, but they didn’t know what the role players had whether it was contraband or a simulated sickness that the Marines had to identify and handle appropriately.
“I came through the scenario with my whole family and there were a few bumps were my parents got mad at each other, because I was sick,” said Johnson. “Once we came through the medical screening portion though, I was given medicine by the doctors so that I could get better, and it was a great help that they took care of us quickly so I could get better.”
After the BSRF Marines moved the role players through the evacuation control center they got a chance to see what they needed to work on as they performed their after action report.
“The scenario went really well since this was the first time the Marines were being evaluated on their performance,” said Capt. Robert L. Long, the intelligence officer for 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. “With the role players also doing a great job, as the realism for the training was as close as we could get without having to go to another country and do the real thing.”
Training like this is very important so the Marines can practice repetition and work out the kinks before they deploy.
“Our job as Marines is to be able to complete any task given to us and do it proficiently,” said Long. “And these Marines have done exactly that from what I have seen with these exercises.”
BSRF-13 is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions to engage with foreign nations and their militaries, promote stability throughout the region, and build enduring partnerships throughout Eastern Europe while being a regional crises-contingency force.