Story by Staff Sgt. Matthew Holly
Photos by Staff Sgt. Matthew Holly and Lance Cpl. Jesse Leger
Elements from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted bilateral training with regional partners, March 5-17, to strengthen relationships and improve interoperability.The exercise included military operations in urban terrain training, urban tactics, techniques and procedures training and tactical vehicle capabilities demonstrations.
“The exercise provided us with a valuable training opportunity and was our first exercise since arriving to the region,” said Staff Sgt. Guadalupe Pineda, platoon sergeant for the Combat Engineer platoon, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, 13th MEU. “We had the chance to hang out with, train and learn from our new friends during this exercise.”
In addition to bilateral training it was an opportunity for the 13th MEU to enhance their operating skills.The exercise not only consisted of military training, but presented an opportunity to test the interoperability between the regional civilian medical facility and the MEU’s casualty evacuation capabilities.
“It’s important to ensure we’re tied in with different civilian medical systems,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Reginald A. Demapelis, assigned to Headquarters and Support Company, BLT 1/1 and a Chula Vista, Calif. resident.
“I was very impressed with the knowledge they had and care they’re able to provide,” added Petty Officer 2nd Class Curtis L. Null, assigned to Headquarters and Support Company, BLT 1/1 and a Knoxville, Iowa native. “They kept me updated throughout the whole process - in the event of a real casualty I’m confident they would be able to provide appropriate care to our Marines and Sailors.”
During the training, there was plenty of time for Marines and their new friends to interact. Whether it was through conversation, food or fellowship they were constantly taking the time to get to know one another.
“A great deal of friendship has been built up very quickly between us and them,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Andres Velasco. “We share a mutual admiration and have gained a parallel trust between our regional partners.”
The 13th MEU is embarked aboard Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group ships deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to conduct Maritime Security Operations. MSO help develop security in the maritime environment and complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment to transport personnel and weapons or serve as a venue for attack.