Marines and British Commandos assault Infantry Immersion Trainer

21 Jul 2014 | Lance Cpl. Seth Starr

Marines from Supporting Arms Liaison Team B, 1st Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company and commandos from the British Armed Forces conducted a joint proficiency exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July, 17.

The purpose of the event was to enhance the skill set and operational capability of the British forces by passing on skills, knowledge and standard operating procedures in a heavily populated urban environment.

1st ANGLICO created events and scenarios to train both their Marines and the British commandos for a three week training period.  Scenarios were set for both the Marines and Commandos focusing on dismounted patrols, building infiltration and communicating with close air support.  

Cpl. Nicholas Hendrix, a field radio operator with 1st ANGLICO said training with British commandos benefited the Marines taking part in the scenarios.

“Since we’re a liaison company, we don’t typically work with our own Marines,” said Hendrix.  “We work with [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] forces, like our Army and both the Australian and British Armies. Integrating these forces into our training creates a mutual benefit so we can have practice communicating with their aircraft and learning their procedures as well.”

The streets of the training complex were littered with mangled scraps of metal, wood and other debris.  Specially trained role players acting as a local populace in a Taliban held area were used to enhance the realism of training by buying and selling goods in a heavily populated market place that traced along the Marine’s and commandos patrol route. 

Bombardier Andy Smith, a British Army commando with the 148th Battery, Royal Artillery, said that the opportunity to participate in training of this caliber is sought after amongst himself and his fellow Commandos.

“The facilities that are on Camp Pendleton are second to none for us,” said Smith. “We don’t have training like this in the United Kingdom and the opportunity to train with the Marines from 1st ANGLICO every year is something we look forward to.”

Smith elaborated on the actions conducted in the town and the purpose of conducting an urban patrol.

“Our goal is to keep the notional enemy from having freedom of movement in the town,” said Smith. “This ultimately doesn’t give them the opportunity to place improvised explosive devices or anything else that could give them a foothold in the town.”

While conducting the patrols, Hendrix said that learning the way the British conduct operations was an aid to himself and the rest of his company.  

“This kind of training continues to build the relationship with the British Military that promotes cohesion between forces and prepares us both for future conflicts we may both have a hand in,” said Hendrix.

During the exercise, the patrol took fire from a role player and was forced to blend their tactics to identify and eliminate the threat while maintaining tactical supremacy within the compound.

“One of the big benefits with this specific training is that there are some things that the Marines do better than we do and we want to learn how to incorporate them into our own training,” said Smith.  
The Marines from 1st ANGLICO and the commandos continue to train and aid one another while exercise professionalism and determination to better themselves and the defense of their respective countries.