News: CLT-2 takes grenade range on PTA
Story by Sgt. Sarah Anderson
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii (July 20, 2014) Headquarters Battery with 1st Battalion, 12th Marines and members of the Indonesian Korps Marinir and Australian Army, all attached to Company Landing Team 2, conducted grenade range operations at Range 5A in Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, July 20, during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014.
RIMPAC is the largest maritime exercise in the Pacific region, consisting of 22 countries and approximately 25,000 personnel. Coalition forces were split up into five CLTs to conduct ground operation across the Hawaiian Islands.
The CLT-2 service members exited their tents in the early hours of the day to cold rainfall and hiked half a mile to Range 5A, where they split up into sections to practice grenade throwing techniques.
The Australians first conducted an exercise where they assaulted and fired at simulated enemy targets from behind bunkers with machine guns, rifles and grenades.
Lieutenant John Moulton, a platoon commander with CLT-2 and a range safety officer for the grenade range, said the exercise was a tremendous way to teach his soldiers fluidity amongst their unit.
“The range was focused on their ability to work within their teams to suppress enemy targets,” Moulton said. “Their skills and drills are at a much higher level now than before the exercise. They are shooting, moving and communicating better amongst their teams. It’s a great opportunity to come to Hawaii and train with the Marine Corps and utilize their training areas.”
The Headquarters Battery and Indonesian marines practiced and shared each military’s grenade techniques before their live fire exercise by using “blue-body” or flash grenades before using live-grenades.
All the forces involved were able to exchange understanding on each military’s operation when handling grenades, as well as learn about which grenades they utilize.
“We give and take back knowledge,” said Indonesian Korps Marinir Lance Cpl. Ismaile. “We have been learning and teaching each other about gear and tactics. The training is similar to ours and we are very happy and proud to have these experiences.”
Cpl. Rene Sotelo, a radio operator with Headquarters Battery, 1st Bn., 12th Marines, helped instruct many of the Indonesian marines on Marine Corps grenade techniques. He said there was a slight language barrier but they learned quickly and easily grasped the Corps’ operations at the range.
“By learning each other’s way of handling operations, we are blending better together,” Sotelo said. “They are learning a lot about us and we are learning about them. It’s a great opportunity.”
Sotelo also said one of the biggest differences between the two nation’s tactics is that the Indonesians train with grenades by throwing the ammunition downhill, whereas the U.S. Marines throw over a wall.
Throughout RIMPAC, the nations have been working together on various operations and exercises. The blending together of forces creates stronger interoperability for security in the Pacific.
“We are learning a great deal from different armies and we talk about how we do things differently,” Moulton said. “We are building relationships and that is so important to the success of RIMPAC.”