News: Marines and sailors with BSRF-14 get acquainted with mountain training
Story by Lance Cpl. Scott Whiting
VATRA DORNEI, Romania - With the first week of Exercise Platinum Lynx coming to a close, Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force 14 from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment received the unique opportunity to undergo mountain training with Romanian soldiers of the 17th Mountain Troop Bn. in the Carpathian Mountains May 7-8, 2014.
The specialized training accustomed the Marines and sailors to hiking and operating in rocky, snowy and mountainous terrain; something many of the group hadn’t experienced before. The American service members were led around the edge of a mountain by Romanian soldiers experienced with the training and terrain.
After the hike, the Marines and sailors spent a day and a half learning the basics of climbing and maneuvering through mountainous terrain by being given the chance to rock climb small cliffs under the supervision of the Romanians. They also rappelled down steep cliffs and rode on a zip line as part of the training.
“This is definitely a new experience for most of us,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew Blacker, a platoon commander with Weapons Company. “Some guys are comfortable doing it and others are a little out of their element, but everyone is pushing through and overcoming fears. It’s a good experience for all of us out here.”
Some Marines had to learn the basics of the mountain training from the Romanians who spend most of their time in the rocky terrain.
“The Romanians are very nice,” Blacker said. “We taught them some things earlier this week, and they’re teaching us things now. We’ve been sharing military knowledge back and forth.”
The Marines are looking forward to working more with the 17th Mountain Troop Bn. during the next week of Platinum Lynx, which includes several days of live-fire exercises.
“We’re all excited to get out to the ranges next week, train with the Romanians, and finish the exercise strongly,” Blacker said.