Elite forces from 40 Commando have recently spent several weeks taking part in intense exercise Black Alligator in California. However, as important as it is to train hard, it is essential that Marines are allowed to play hard too. That is exactly what happened at a Warrior Day meet up where UK, US, and Dutch Marines battled it out across four sports in order to win valuable bragging rights over their rivals. Whilst the UK team rather unsurprisingly won the football (soccer) and rugby matches, they also managed to cause an upset by winning the American Football too. The US Marines won the softball match however, whereas the Dutch had to leave empty handed. Royal Marine Mark Perry, said:
“The day was an excellent end to what has been a really good few weeks on exercise over here in the States, and saw us finally take on the US Marines in a physical challenge. The USMC has accommodated us brilliantly whilst we’ve been here, and Warrior Day was no different, with a hearty supply of bagpipes and burgers. The events were as physical as you’d expect for Marines, but the result was never in doubt, although they gave us a few nervous moments in the football (soccer) event taking us to penalties!”
American colleague, Lance Corporal Ethan Curnow, an ammunition technician at the US Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Centre magazine area, added:
“It is an awesome feeling when you compete with someone from another country. You can tell how competitive everyone is as soon as you walk out there. I really appreciated the Royal and Dutch Marines coming out to compete after a long training exercise.”
Maritime satellite communications often have to be conducted between foreign forces, so any opportunity to interact with other countries’ forces can only have a positive impact on the battlefield. Black Alligator is a two month training exercise set in a landscape of nearly 1,000 miles of desert. Whilst it may seem strange for Marines to spend so much time training on land, the environment is perfect for practicing live firing with machine guns and mortars, perfecting urban combat drills, and conducting practice live fire commando raids with their US and Dutch colleagues.
There is no doubt that British, American, and Dutch forces have access to some of the finest communications equipment that a network router manufacturer can produce. The opportunity to practice working together cannot be underemphasised in terms of its significance. Defence satellite communications play a key role in keeping the seas safe. Knowing that you are working with allied troops that are just as committed to the cause of defence as you are is a major psychological boost to Marine troops.
This exercise is just one of many that British marines get to experience during their time in the military. Whether on land or at sea, having access to the highest quality communication equipment can be the difference between life and death. UK, US, and Dutch Marines can rely on each other.
About the Author – Sarah Makinson is a freelance blogger who has written extensively on the topic of communications for a number of sites, including Vocality.