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    Marine unit in Afghanistan works alongside Georgians, ‘lead by example’



    Courtesy Story

    10th Mountain Division

    By Vanessa Villarreal
    USFOR-A Public Affairs Office

    BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The U.S. Marine Corps’ global force distribution equals about 30,000 in 40 countries, and the team here – the Georgian Deployment Program Resolute Support Mission Rotation (ROTO) 2 - is the largest Marine active duty unit in Afghanistan.

    Lt. Col. Bradley Grosvenor, Georgian Liaison Team ROTO 2 officer in charge, said the unit has two jobs – responsibility for base security and conducting patrols within the Bagram Ground Defense Area (BGDA) with the Georgians. The designation “ROTO 2” refers to the fact that this is the second rotation under the Resolute Support Mission where the Marines have paired with their Georgian counterparts to form one unit here at Bagram.

    Prior to coming to BAF, the Marines deployed to the Republic of Georgia and conducted five months of pre-deployment training with the Georgians. The primary focus of the training was infantry tasks and how the leadership staff fits into the process. This culminated with a Mission Readiness Exercise (MRE) in Germany, he said.

    “The Marines’ pre-deployment training for this rotation also included a three-week language program to learn Georgian,” Grosvenor said. “There’s still a significant language barrier, but through the use of interpreters and use of standard operating procedures, Marines and Georgians work side-by-side on the base defense mission.”

    Grosvenor explained that the Marines primarily serve as advisors and enablers for their Georgian counterparts. They also act as a liaison element between Task Force Buffalo and the Georgians. Every day they work with and patrol with their Georgian counterparts. On patrols, the Marines also bring a terminal air control capability to the Georgians. Filling the base defense mission has given the Georgian Army access to Marine Corps training and leadership and for the Marines, they learn interoperability with coalition forces.

    “We’re the only Marines in the country who perform the duties we do,” Grosvenor said. “Very few people here at BAF realize that we’re performing patrols within the BGDA on a daily basis.”

    The patrols are focused on countering force protection threats to BAF, including improvised explosive devices and indirect fire. While the unit doesn’t have a combat mission, they do fill a combat role, he explained.

    This is Grosvenor’s 22nd year in the Marines and joined because his dad was a Marine.

    “I grew up with a great amount of respect for that,” he said. “Being a Marine, I’ve had the opportunity to lead some of the finest men that I’ve ever known. Small units like this one, they can do wondrous things. The motivation level and initiative is just incredible.”

    Staff Sgt. Fernando Bravo, Georgian Liaison Team lead, joined the Marines in 2003 because of 9/11. In high school when 9/11 happened, he said he felt different than everyone else in his class that day and enjoys working with the Georgians.

    “Everyone acted like it was just another day,” he said. “For me, it felt like the world came crumbling down. So after that, I knew I never wanted to feel like that again. So I joined because I wanted to do my part to make sure that never happened again.”

    As team lead, he’s responsible for being a direct liaison with the Georgian platoon commander.

    “The mission that we have here is really good,” he said. “I’ve been presented with the opportunity to work with the Georgians and I think it’s incredible that the Marine Corps has been chosen to transfer our doctrine to them. It’s really amazing to see that transfer, where you teach someone something and they embrace it.”

    A mortarman by trade, Bravo just completed recruiting duty a year ago in the east Texas area.

    “If you have a chance to be a Marine recruiter, you grow a lot,” he said. “It’s not just putting people in the Marine Corps. You see the impact, how much you molded them. You have a chance to see a legacy that you’ve built.”

    Staff Sgt. Greyson Escareno joined the Marines in February 2006. In college, he was bored with the class and work routine. He said he wanted to do something more so one year during Christmas break, he signed up.

    As the logistics chief, he’s responsible for the movement plan that includes anything from weapons to food to water to building maintenance.

    “We in logistics have our fingers on everything,” he said.

    He said when he joined, his goal was to be a sergeant within four years. And today, he’s exceeded that.

    “I picked up sergeant before three years of my original four-year contract,” he said. “And that was one of the highlights of my career.”

    He was also a recruiter and said that’s where he made everlasting bonds.

    “Some of my best friends are the ones that I was out recruiting with,” he said. “The brotherhood is very strong.”

    Marines put honor, courage and commitment to the test with Ductus Exemplo, Latin for "lead by example." And Grosvenor said by developing friendships here with the Georgians, his Marines are doing just that.

    “The Marine Corps motto is Semper Fidelis,” he said. “It means always faithful. One of the ways we advise them is by setting the example in all we do. We live with, work with, and eat with our Georgian counterparts. We have developed good friendships and there is mutual respect. That, in my view, is the best way to advise – to first earn their respect.”



    Date Taken: 11.18.2015
    Date Posted: 11.19.2015 07:43
    Story ID: 182318
    Location: BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF 

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