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    Marines Return to Romania for Security Cooperation: Bigger unit, larger mission, new facilities for BSRF-11

    Marines Meet Up

    Photo By Tatum Vayavananda | Gunnery Sgt. Daniel A. Devine and 1st Sgt. Gerry Admundson, of Ground Combat Element,...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda 

    U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe and Africa     

    MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania – Almost 200 Marines and sailors of Black Sea Rotational Force 11 arrived in Romania last week to begin the second rotation of a multi-year security cooperation program in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions of Europe. BSRF is a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force and will operate from Mihail Kogalniceanu Romanian Land Forces Base and Airfield.

    The first week has been spent orienting to the area, preparing for training and meeting and working with Romanian counterparts.

    “We’re looking into areas we are training in, what we’re going to train, training aides, classes, instructors and how the area is going to affect how we’re going to run the training,” said Maj. Selden B. Hale, the Ground Combat Element detachment commander, BSRF-11. The training will feature a lot of basic infantry knowledge, military skills and a non-commissioned officer academy, add the Amarillo, Texas native.

    It is important to train together “in order to reach a common language regarding NATO procedures,” said Romanian Commander Ion Tatarici, the director and primary liaison officer for BSRF-11, “and improve younger military members and to be ready for any kind of [operational] requirements.”

    Our goal is improve in peace-keeping operations, counter-insurgency training and all the other exercises, said Tatarici.

    “The Romanians have a desire to learn and it is very evident that they want to participate in BSRF,” Hale added. “They are very meticulous; they expect detailed planning but still are very personable.”

    BSRF has grown from last year’s three-month deployment to a six-month deployment by extending the military advising, community relations and peace keeping operations and support programs. This year the Task Force is made up of almost entirely reservists.

    In addition to the changes in scale, the BSRF is the first unit to occupy a brand new operating base adjacent to the airfield. Capable of accommodating 1,500 personnel the new facility has ample workspace, new barracks, a motor transportation maintenance bay and “motor pool,” and amenities such as a gym, theater and recreation center.

    “Right off the bat, we’ve hit the ground running with the new facilities,” said Lt. Col. Douglas D. Stumpf, the Air Combat Element commander, BSRF-11. The new Romanian Army barracks are a great improvement from the more austere living conditions of BSRF-10, added the Aledo, Texas, native.

    “We’re very impressed and very pleased with the Romanians for the facility that has been provided,” said Stumpf. The SP-MAGTF have been setting up and working out issues with logistics, plumbing, communications, etc., added the Pennsylvania State University, alumnus.

    “I think by doing the security cooperation last year, this year and years to come, we’ll start to build relationships and grow the corporate knowledge of [both] these militaries,” said Hale. “BSRF-11 has some unique challenges because you have all the subordinate units coming together… Given with enough time and practice, things will smooth out and run efficiently.”

    “I think this is a great opportunity for the U.S. to build and strengthen partnerships with some nations around the Black Sea region that are considering being part of NATO,” said Sgt. Marco A. Mardini, the armory chief, BSRF-11.

    We have a good relationship with these nations and it’s important that we keep them,” Mardini said. “We can do this by supporting in the security cooperation and advising our host nation militaries to deter terrorism together,” added the Miami, Fl., native.

    BSRF-11 has been making preparations to support upcoming training exercises in the country, including several logistics runs by the ACE to countries such as Rota, Spain, for ammunition, and Ramstein, Germany, for internal support and maintenance, said Stumpf.

    Additionally, other preparations have been made, like the Medical Evacuation drill on April 21 that tested both nations’ responsiveness in case of medical emergency to U.S. or foreign military troops.

    Working jointly with the Romanian military, police force and Constanta County Hospital, the Task Force executed a MEDEVAC drill to be ready for any emergency situation that might arise, said Tatarici. The drill flew a simulated casualty from Babadag Training Area, approximately 55 miles north of Constanta, to the hospital to receive proper medical assistance.

    “I say it was the very well organized and together everyone was aware of their assignment,” said Tatarici. “It means we completed the first activity of BSRF-11. It is a great experience to work with U.S. Marines and earn experience and improve.”



    Date Taken: 04.26.2011
    Date Posted: 04.26.2011 13:12
    Story ID: 69372

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