HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
As the nature of conflict and challenges to the U.S. and its interests remain constant, so does the demands of the U.S. Marine Corps’ ability to operate and conduct operations as a closely integrated Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) with interagency and multinational partners across the full range of military operations.
With this in mind, elements of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, joined forces with U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command Aug. 17 – 27 to strengthen the process-driven capability integration process between Special Operations Forces and the MAGTF and to increase the Marine Corps’ and MARSOC’s ability to partner with foreign counterparts to advise, train and assist allied security forces.
Throughout the 10-day training evolution, Marines with 2/8 played the role of a notional partner nation force, while MARSOC Critical Skills Operators and Special Operations Officers advised, trained and assisted 2/8, increasing both MARSOC’s and 2/8’s ability to advise, train and assist partner nation forces throughout the globe.
“The training scenarios we [MARSOC] developed were designed specifically to enhance not only our own abilities to train, advise and assist a partner nation force in conducting operations on their own, but to enhance the overall capabilities of 2/8 to train and advise partner nations’ forces at the small unit leader level, as 2/8 prepares for future deployments,” said a MARSOC CSO conducting the training.
“It was great to train with MARSOC, explained 2nd Lt. Zachary A. Basich, 1st platoon commander with Echo Company. “I learned a great deal about advising a partner nation force at the small unit level while at the same time learning some of MARSOC’s best practices, which in turn helped my Marines and me to refine our own basic infantry tactics.”
The training also included advanced intelligence fusion, preparation of the environment based off of the collected intelligence, and how to properly handle and report valuable information.
“Conducting training like this with MARSOC provided us with a greater understanding of the importance of intelligence gathering and collecting critical information discovered at an objective site, and the value of reporting and properly handling new information gathered,” said Sgt. Edwin R. Soto, a squad leader with 2nd Platoon, Echo Company.
In addition to intelligence collections, MARSOC also shared with the Marines of Echo Company specialized techniques used to conduct short strikes and small-scale offensive actions to seize, capture and recover critical information or high value targets and persons of interest.
“Training with MARSOC provided me with the opportunity to work with a wide array of specialized equipment, as well as train at unique and unfamiliar facilities that my unit normally wouldn’t have access to,” said LCpl. Daniel J. Maine, a squad leader with 1st platoon, Echo Company. “The best part about training with MARSOC was the small unit tactics the MARSOC operators emphasized. Essentially, the past two weeks brought us back to our roots of conducting dynamic missions at the fire team maneuver level.”
When asked if training with MARSOC was valued added and would they do it again, the responses from the Marines of Echo Company were overwhelmingly positive.
“Looking at our future mission sets, we will be more focused on small unit detachments spread loaded throughout any particular area of responsibility,” said Basich, a Wheeling, W.Va., native and 2013 U.S. Naval Academy graduate. “This training facilitated our requirement to learn how to train another partner nation force, while at the same time honing our own Tactics, Techniques and Procedures. I would definitely jump on the chance to have my entire platoon, if not the entire battalion, involved in training like this with MARSOC again in the future.”
Soto said having a hybrid platoon made up of Marines from each platoon within Echo Company allows them to spread load the knowledge gained during the training throughout the entire company, and has prepared the unit for future deployments.
“I was also impressed with the level of professionalism MARSOC’s critical skills operators and special operation officers displayed throughout the entire evolution,” said Soto. “They served as true role models to our young Marines participating in this training exercise.”
“The level of professionalism and the way the MARSOC Marines carried themselves was something we all looked up to,” said Maine. “When I become eligible, I plan to submit my application to be screened and selected for MARSOC Assessment and Selection. This past week of training definitely opened my eyes a little more about what it is that MARSOC does, and I want in,” exclaimed Maine, from Norwich, Conn.
The Marines with MARSOC were also pleased with the training outcome.
“The Marines of 2/8 performed superbly and my fellow CSOs and SOOs were extremely pleased with the level of enthusiasm they displayed and their willingness and eagerness to learn new TTPs based upon the special operations scenarios we developed for this exercise,” said a MARSOC CSO.
While building partner nation capacity is essential to advancing U.S. interests abroad, so is the ability for both conventional Marine Corps forces and MARSOC to train and work together to enhance the MAGTF and SOF capabilities integration process to meet the U.S.’ National Security Strategy objectives.
“At the end of the day, the training exercise was a win-win for all those involved, concluded a MARSOC CSO.”