News: Two boot styles, one set of tracks: 2nd LAAD Marines train with Canadians
Story by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom
FORT PICKETT, Va. – After finishing a series of refresher exercises, Marines with Battery B, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, began bilateral training with the 36th Canadian Brigade Feb. 20, as part of Exercise South Bound Trooper here.
The Marines and their Canadian counterparts are executing field scenarios using a Canadian training system called “Weapon Effects Simulator.”
“This is a chance for us to showcase our skills and the way we conduct ourselves on the battlefield,” said 1st Sgt. Marcus Martinez, first sergeant of Battery B. “We will also learn how the Canadian army does everything and maybe even learn a bit about ways to improve our tactics.”
On today’s battlefields, the Marine Corps is accustomed to conducting combined operations, said Martinez, and the goal of South Bound Trooper is to reinforce the tactics used with allied forces.
This “Weapons Effects Simulator” system follows the same principles as laser tag with a vest worn by each combatant, linked by a computer and GPS system that tells the participant when they are hit, as well as the severity of the wound or if they have been killed, said Canadian Maj. Michael J. Gervais, deputy commanding officer of 36th Canadian Brigade Group.
The gear is only a small part of this exercise and the most important aspect is familiarizing the troops with their coalition partners, added Gervais.
“This is the first time we have worked with a Marine land section,” he said. “The Marines of LAAD have shown us a lot of different tactics we can utilize, and that is what this exercise is supposed to bring around to us.”
“Seeing how the Marines do their job prepares us for possible integration during deployments in the future,” said Gervais.
“By working with the Canadians over the last week, we have been able to get extra work on our two main missions, which are ground-based air defense and providing security posts,” said Capt. Jonathan M. Trizila, commanding officer of Battery B.
“This exercise has given us a means to hone our skills on a much larger unit level,” Trizila said. “We usually have to simulate different events happening when training on our own.”
Trizila said everyone, from lance corporals to staff non-commissioned officers, is learning a great deal during the exercise.
“Working with the Canadians lets us see the bigger picture about tactics they use,” said Cpl. Demingo Lara, a section leader with Battery B. “This event makes Bravo Battery a better team of Marines.”