MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The best time to win a war is before it ever begins.
Armed with this idea, the Marines of H Company, 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, traditionally known for their Force Reconnaissance heritage and expertise in direct action and special reconnaissance missions, completed an Advisor Field Exercise here Aug. 5-9 to prepare them for an indirect approach to warfare and further success on the modern battlefield.
“The [Marine Special Operations Companies] are reorganizing and receiving tasks and missions for Foreign Internal Defense,” said Capt. Dov Kawamoto, the officer-in charge and exercise manager for the AdFex.
Foreign Internal Defense – or “FID” – is a MARSOC core task that involves training and assisting foreign militaries so they are better able to provide security and ensure stability within their own nation.
Ideally, successful FID missions executed by a MARSOC company or team help prevent situations that might require deployment of larger combat forces in the future.
Teaching and training are challenging tasks under the best of circumstances -- all the more so when those being trained come from an unfamiliar culture and speak a different language.
Through the use of role-players, Kawamoto and his AdFex team created an opportunity for the MSOC Marines to practice passing on their warfighting expertise under conditions they are likely to face when deployed.
Kawamoto explained that realistic foreign weapons and equipment are incorporated into the exercise and role-players with experience working with foreign militaries and cultures add realism to the event.
During the exercise, the MSOC Marines taught classes to the role-players, but had to speak through translators in order to overcome the language barrier.
They also faced scenarios that required them to apply their technical skills while dealing with the unique cultural differences between the American Marines and the foreign troops represented by the role-players.
One scenario involved the confusion that blossomed around the accidental shooting of a foreign soldier when the MSOC’s Corpsmen was out of the area.
This scenario, and others like it, created a unique training exercise that has evolved to fit the needs of MARSOC and U.S. Special Operations Command.
“In today’s world, learning to work with foreign nations is vital for all U.S. military [members],” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Lawrence M. Inscoe, who reprised his role as Lt. Col. Abdulah, commanding officer of the “Onslovian” Army.
According to Inscoe, no matter where or what the mission is, the ability to establish good relations with a foreign nation is an imperative skill when deployed.
Marine Special Operations Company warriors keep their Direct Action and Special Reconnaissance skills honed, but completion of the AdFex and other FID training increases their capability to engage and succeed in a wide range of special operations missions – whether the goal is to defeat America’s enemies or to help our friends defeat theirs.