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A U.S. Marine repels down the side of a cliff during an assault climbers course July 22. French and U.S. Marines participated in an assault climbing course in the rugged terrain of the Arta Range July 19 - 30.

Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano

French, US Marines Head to the Mountains for Training

30 Jul 2012 | Share By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

U.S. Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, and French forces from the 5th Marine Regiment participated in an assault climbers course here July 19 - 30.

U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Chris Brueggeman, 24th MEU assault climbing instructor, facilitated the training for the French and U.S. Marines.

"The Marines were conducting assault climber refresher training as well as bilateral training with the French in assault climbing skills," said Brueggeman. "[We focused on] tactical rope technique suspension systems to move through the complex terrain we have out here so we can move our forces through the area and, if we had a casualty, to safely move [that person] in a expeditionary manner down the mountain to medical evacuation."

One of the techniques taught during the course was repelling, a controlled descent down a rock face using a rope and other equipment. Brueggeman said repelling can be used to get to many hard-to-reach places or traverse through terrain that Marines must travel through to complete their objectives.

The U.S. Marines and French forces collaborated in this exercise to build on each other's knowledge and create camaraderie between the two services, said Capt. Juan Ramos, 24th MEU assistant intelligence officer.

"Any time you can do mil-to-mil engagements with partner nations or coalition partners, it's a good thing because you develop rapport with one another," said Ramos. "For example, building a one-rope bridge, we have a different way of building it than the French. It gives us an opportunity to share best practices with one another."

The training here benefited both the U.S. Marines and French forces, adding to their varied skill sets in accomplishing mission objectives, said Brueggeman.