MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Water dripped through the cracks of an amphibious assault vehicle as the Marines and guardsmen readied their weapons for an amphibious assault on a simulated town. The AAV stopped, and the door slowly opened allowing 18 Marines and guardsmen to pour out firing blanks at role-players as they secured the beach.
After the beach was secure, the Marines serving with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and guardsmen serving with 3rd Battalion Singapore Guards, moved to breach the town. Shots were exchanged between role-players and the allied forces as they pushed through the town, clearing building after building until the town was secured.
This training took place Dec. 5 and was conducted as a part of Exercise Valiant Mark 2012.
“Valiant Mark is a bilateral exercise between the United States Marine Corps and Singapore Guards that happens every year,” said Lt. Col. Jason Perry, the commanding officer of 2nd Bn., 5th Marines. “We train side by side and exchange tactics with the guardsmen.”
During this portion of Valiant Mark, the guardsmen worked alongside Marines of Echo Co., who shared Marine Corps amphibious history and training with their allies.
“This gave us an opportunity to train the guardsmen on basic infantry integration with amphibious assault vehicles and how they can be employed while conducting MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training,” said Capt. Jacob V. Crespin, the Echo Co. commander.
The Guardsmen are a capable force despite their lack of combat experience, Crespin added.
“The Marines are always willing to share their experience and tactics with us,” said Capt. Bernard Tan, a company commander serving with 3rd Battalion Singapore Guards. “As long as we continue to work together, both parties can gain experience and knowledge.”
The Marines also enjoyed the company of having fellow warriors train alongside them, said Crespin, a native of Northport, N.Y.
“It’s is nice being able to bring some of our allies here and teach them about AAVs and our amphibious roots,” said Cpl. Thomas Fowlkes, an assaultman serving with Echo. Co.
“It is great to be able to work with these Marines,” said Sgt. Jumaat Harrith, a squad leader serving with 3rd Bn. Singapore Guards. “They are very cooperative, and we have learned a lot from each other over the past week.”
The Marines and guardsmen have been exchanging tactics to improve their overall combat effectiveness.
“They perform MOUT training a lot back in Singapore,” said Fowlkes, a 31-year-old native of Austin, Texas. “The technology they used made them move a bit slower, but they were very precise with the way they cleared rooms.”
Both the Marines and guardsmen increased their combat effectiveness as a result of the partnered training.
“Anytime we get to work together with another professional military organization it gives us an opportunity to better ourselves and share our experience with others,” Chespin said.
Valiant Mark is being conducted in conjunction with Steel Knight, an annual exercise designed to train the 1st Marine Division for deployment as the ground combat element of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force. The focus of the exercise is to ensure that 1st Marine Division is fully prepared to deploy as an expeditionary force across the range of military operations and is capable of responding to any crisis across the world.