Marines, French, British forces clear objectives
The enemy never stood a chance as three different countries' elite forces closed in from the air and ground, eliminating anything that stood in their path by displaying seamless integration of their collective efforts into one multilateral company.
Platoons of U.S. Marine infantrymen, French Marine paratroopers and British Army soldiers conducted a company-level, coordinated attack together as part of Exercise Croix du Sud outside of Camp la Broche, New Caledonia, Oct. 14.
The Marines are with 1st platoon, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which is currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. The French paratroopers are with 8th Marine Infantry Paratrooper Regiment, based out of Castres, France. The platoon of British soldiers are with The Royal Gurkha Rifles, a highly selective British army unit whose enlisted soldiers hail from Nepal.
The purpose of the attack was for the platoons to maneuver and secure two bridges while locating and closing with simulated enemy forces, said 1st Lt. Forrest L. Martin, a platoon commander with 2/3.
"We coordinated attacks and movements with the other platoons to ensure maximum effectiveness," said Martin.
The training started when the French regiment parachuted into a landing zone near the objectives.
"We performed the jump at 300 meters while the Gurkhas secured the landing zone," said French Marine Sgt. Guillaume Perget, a paratrooper with the French regiment.
While the Gurkhas and the French secured the landing zone, U.S. Marines arrived via vehicle just outside the first objective, where they dispersed into three squads and began patrolling the road leading to the objective.
"While on the road, my fire team noticed an out-of-place rock formation in the road ahead," said Lance Cpl. Ryan A. Psenka, a rifleman with 2/3. "When we saw it, I ordered everyone to stop and set up a security perimeter."
When the perimeter was set, the Marines examined the area around the rock pile, searching for enemies. While probing around the rock formation, the Marines came under a simulated enemy attack.
"When we took contact, the rock pile exploded and confirmed our suspicions of an improvised explosive device," said Psenka.
After the explosion, the Marines pushed forward and drove the enemy back. When the enemy was neutralized, the Marines pushed forward to the first objective.
While the U.S. Marines advanced, the Gurkhas and French Marines were pushing toward their objectives, according to Perget.
"When we arrived at our target, we took contact and took out our enemy," said Perget. "After taking out the enemy, we secured the bridge and set up a security perimeter to defend the bridge."
As the French secured their target, the U.S. Marines' 3rd squad continued to advance to the next objective.
"When we pushed toward our next target, the platoon came upon a farm compound just off the road," said Cpl. Carlos D. Villarreal, a rifleman with 2/3.
Taking action, the Marines conducted a squad search of the compound for enemy threats.
"After we cleared the house, we moved on to the barn," said Villarreal. "On our way, we took contact from the barn area and buddy-rushed to suppress the enemy."
The Marines systematically took out each simulated enemy combatant as they approached the barn and swept the remaining area once the barn was secured.
Just as 3rd squad finished terminating the enemy, 1st and 2nd squads took fire from up the road. The Marines of 3rd squad quickly ran over to assist.
The squads coordinated a platoon-size attack, took out the enemy, and secured their objective. Once the French and British secured their objectives, the attack ended with all objectives seized and no casualties taken by the platoons.
"Everyone involved did a great job today in almost every (facet)," said Martin. "They had great communication and performed at their best."
Article by Lance Cpl. Erik S. Brooks Jr., Marine Corps Installations Pacific