News: India Co. BLT 3/5 trains along-side with Timor-Leste Defense Force
Story by Sgt. John Robbart III
TIMOR-LESTE - After moving through streams of water and the silent night, the two groups of warriors were prepared to move on to their objective.
The amphibious, mechanized rifle company of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s ground combat element conducted a raid with the Timor-Leste Defense Force, as part of Exercise Crocodilo 2012, Oct. 13.
Crocodilo12 serves as the first exercise scheduled during the MEU’s deployment that began on Sept. 17. Throughout the exercise, forces will participate in various events to include field exercises and community relations activities aimed at strengthening the relationship between the US and Timor-Leste.
“Exercise Crocodilo 12 has been a unique experience for the Marines of India Co.,” said the company commander of India Co., BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “This was a great opportunity for us to work with a foreign military."
India Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5 conducted a raid with the F-FDTL to assess the skills of the foreign military.
The Department of Defense defines a raid as ‘an operation to temporarily seize an area in order to secure information, confuse an adversary, capture personnel or equipment, or to destroy a capability culminating with a planned withdrawal.’
India Co.’s mission was to deny the enemy the ability to operate in the area.
During a raid, the forces are broken up into an assault element, which serves as the main effort, a security element, which provides blocking positions and a support-by-fire element providing suppressive machine gun fire for the assault element conducting the raid. India Co.’s Second Platoon’s leadership was embedded as advisors to the F-FDTL.
“The training was a great new experience,” said F-FDTL’s 2nd Lt. Octavio Sarmento, assault element commander. “We learned a lot of tactics such as ambushes, patrolling and crossing dangerous areas.”
The F-FDTL acted as the main effort, while elements from India Co.’s Weapons Platoon attached to 3rd Platoon served as the support-by-fire element, with 1st Platoon providing security.
“This raid provided us an opportunity to assess the skills of the F-FDTL,” said Sgt. Jon P. Andujo, squad leader, 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, India Co., BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “Each of the squad leaders served as advisors to their squad leaders during the raid,” added the 23-year-old native of Albuquerque, N.M.
Assessments aside, the raid gave the two forces an opportunity to get to know each other on a personal and professional level.
“Crocodilo 12 gave my Marines and I an understanding of another culture,” said Andujo. “Additionally seeing the way they live really gave me an appreciation of the way we live back home,” added the 5-year-veteran.
Through a series of classes, titled lane training, India Co. will work on various infantry fundamentals to assist in making the F-FDTL a more confident and capable force.
“The F-FDTL is a developing force and through our guidance I believe that we can help make them a better military unit,” said Andujo.
India Co. is one of three rifle companies that make up BLT 3/5, the 15th MEU’s ground combat element.
The 15th MEU is currently embarked as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, while they serve as the nation's rapid-response sea-based Marine Air Ground Task Force for Western Pacific Deployment 12-02.