French Legionnaires and US Marines trained together here Dec. 4-10 to increase interoperability, maintain critical military skills and build an inter-service bond crucial to successful operations.
Elements of the 13th Demi-Brigade of the French Foreign Legion and 2nd Platoon, Company E, Battalion landing Team 2/4, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), trained together in convoy operations, patrolling tactics and basic military skills.
“Interacting with the Legionnaires provided our Marines the opportunity to train alongside a force that has a deserved reputation for discipline and physical toughness,” said Col. Gregg P. Olson, commanding officer of the 11th MEU. “The Marines enjoyed the challenges posed by the tactical scenarios and the terrain, and I think warriors from many different backgrounds found they had much in common.”
While ashore, the men competed in handball, volleyball, and went through an endurance course riddled with obstacles.
“Having an endurance course where the obstacles require teamwork and leadership was an excellent experience for the guys,” said 2nd Lt. Brian Hinrichs, 2nd Platoon commander, and Wheaton, Ill., native.
During this period, a six-man supporting arms liaison team from the MEU’s Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) detachment were invited to take part in the Djibouti Close Air Support Exercise put on by the French Army and Air force.
“Working with the French was a phenomenal experience,” said Capt. Dave Tumanjan, officer-in-charge of the detachment and Boise, Idaho, native. “This training enabled us to build our knowledge of fires on an international level.”
The Marines and Sailors, part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, came ashore from the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), which departed San Diego Sept. 24, on a deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East.