SIERRA DEL RETIN, Spain -- Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit joined the Spanish Marine Corps, the Infanteria DeMarina, for two days of tactics sharing during bi-lateral training, April 16-17.
During that time, the Marines worked hand in hand to show each other various Marine Corps-centric tactics and standard operating procedures. Both militaries also temporarily swapped equipment and weapons, as well as sharing chow. “They wanted to do integrated training with us, so it was an opportunity to get with them and learn from each other,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Dible, the platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th MEU. On the first day of training, Marines from Charlie Company and a company of Spanish Marines divided into four groups and rotated through stations centered on improvised explosive devices training, patrolling, entry control points and weapon systems. “At the beginning of the day, working with them was a little different; the language barrier is the biggest thing,” said Dible, a Grand Junction, Colo. native. “As the day carried on, you could see both the United States Marines and the Spaniards warming up to each other, swapping weapons, and trying on each other’s gear.” After sunset, the Marines took their Spanish counter parts on a night patrol to demonstrate the 24th MEU’s various night vision optics and discuss the tactical advantages associated with being able to see in the dark. On the second day of training, Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 24 demonstrated the operation of an evacuation control center. Marines use ECCs to process and screen individuals who need to be transported out of a country in turmoil. The Marines escorted the Spanish Marines through each section of the ECC to explain its intricacies, answer questions, and discuss the differences and similarities in how each Marine Corps operates them, according to Chief Warrant Officer 2 James O’Brien, the ECC officer-in-charge. “I went through and explained everything to them, and their procedures are almost the same as ours,” the Thermopolis, Wyo. native said. The 24th MEU also showcased their Rapid Response Medical Team during the second day. The role of an RRMT is response to a mass casualty site, whether it is a group of Marines or civilians who don’t have organic medical capabilities, or their capabilities are overwhelmed, according to Lt. j.g. Matthew Colton, the battalion surgeon for CLB 24. The Spaniards watched as the Marines’ RRMT treated simulated casualties and transported them to safety. “They had a few questions,” said Colton, a Tampa, Fla., native. “They were interested in the capabilities of our corpsman and what kind of training they get.” While many of the tactics and standard operating procedures seemed very similar in nature, many of the Marines said the little differences between the ways they do things made the training unique. “This is some of the better training we’ve had because it’s not us just doing the same thing,” said Lance Cpl. Robert Rausch, an assaultman with Charlie Company and native of Orlando, Fla. “It opens your eyes to different things because when you do the same thing over and over again you stop thinking outside the box. Once you see how other people work, you start thinking outside the box again.” “The training, the way we’re doing it is really good,” said 2nd Lt. L.F. Ros, a Spanish Marines infantry officer, through a translator. “I will see things from the Marines that we don’t know and take them.” The 24th MEU, partnered with the Navy's Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, is currently deployed as a theater reserve and crisis response force capable of a variety of missions from full-scale combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.