Thai, U.S. Marines bolster cohesion through live-fire attack drills
By Courtesy U.S. Marine Cpl. Matthew Callahan
| | February 13, 2013
BAN CHAN KREM, Kingdom of Thailand --
Beneath the expansive haze and heavy vegetation of Thailand’s wilderness, U.S. and Royal Thai Marines conducted a series of live-fire platoon attack ranges Feb. 13 during the field training portion of exercise Cobra Gold 2013.
Over the course of a few days with the Royal Thai Marines, the “Lava Dogs” of Company A trained in immediate action drills, speed reloading and movement to contact in a jungle environment.
The U.S. Marines with Company A, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and the Royal Thai Marines with 1st Infantry Company, 3rd Battalion, swapped tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as familiarizing each other with new weapons systems. The two groups of Marines learned quickly from one another, adapting to each other’s movements as they prepared for a culminating live-fire exercise.
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. James Steyn, a team leader, acknowledged that the jungle environment was new to his Marines and that they were learning from their Thai partners how to maneuver in the heavy brush.
“The (Thai) Marines were excellent at moving swiftly through this terrain and rarely got caught up on anything,” said Steyn. “Observing really helped to give us perspective when moving through the jungle.”
Beginning with a patrol through the jungle, the partnering forces took notional contact from small arms and enemy armor to their right flank. While the Marines maneuvered on line and provided suppressive fire, assault men with Weapons Platoon, Company A, launched sequential fires with their 83mm crew served rocket launchers, clearing a path for the rest of the platoon to conduct fire and movement forward toward an objective.
Medium machine gunners moved along with each platoon, laying down automatic suppressive fire toward the objective, allotting more freedom of movement for the platoon to carry onward.
“Both us and the Thai Marines were able to take what we had learned from one another in the days before and apply it to our live fire runs,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Jerry Clarke, a squad leader with 1st Platoon, Company A.
By the time the two groups of Marines had assimilated fully, Clarke rested assured the men were executing their drills perfectly, firing and moving in buddy pairs to push through their objective.
Three platoons and three successful range runs later, the U.S. Marines retired to their bivouac site and prepared for more advanced training exercises in the days to come during the exercise.
Currently, the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, is attached to 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, as part of the Marine Corps unit deployment program. The Marine Corps unit deployment program rotates U.S.-based units to III MEF in Japan for six months and is designed to provide the rotational unit unique training opportunities and augment the capabilities of III MEF.
CG 13, in its 32nd iteration, demonstrates U.S. commitment to our long-standing ally the Kingdom of Thailand, and toward regional partnership, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region.