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U.S., Mexican Marines unite for training

US Marine Corps News

9/18/2009 By Lance Cpl. Lucas G. Lowe , Marine Corps Base Quantico

Officer Candidates School recently hosted 42 officers from Mexico’s Center of Specialized Training for theInfantry Marine for a 12-day training period from Aug. 31 to Sept. 11 to learn Marine Corps tactics and strategy.

The combined operation is the result of Marine Corps Forces North Theater Security Cooperation program. The program’s cooperative nature prompted the U.S. and Mexican governments to coordinate mutual training between militaries.

‘‘What they received was just a small snapshot of what officer candidates experience during their timeat OCS,” said Capt. Mark Minella, Marine CorpsForces North current operations officer. ‘‘This is anopportunity for the Mexican Marines to see how the Marine Corps screens and evaluates potential officers in the areas of leadership, physical fitness and proficiency in small unit tactics.”

‘‘They share many of our concepts of tactics and strategy,” said Sgt. Juan Loera, a translator for the Mexican Marine officers during their training at OCS. ‘‘They’re not that different from American Marines. They take care of each other.”

Senior American and Mexican Marine leaders gottogether to discuss various approaches to warfighting, resulting in a dialogue that fostered mutual learningbetween experienced officers.

‘‘The most important part of the training was how the leadership works,” said Capitan de Fragata Antonio Morales, a lieutenant colonel equivalent and the senior Mexican Marine officer present during the training at OCS. ‘‘The officers’ confidence comes from knowing they can be compared to American Marine leaders.”

The international spirit fostered at OCS during the Mexican Marines’ time there, as well as the free flow of ideas between the respective leadership, proved conducive for a learning environment for all Marinesinvolved.

‘‘The experience itself, and the interchanging of ideas between American Marines and ourselves, is what made our time here valuable,” said Capitan de Corbeta Armando Ojeda, a major equivalent with the Mexican Marines.

Translators bridged the language gap between Mexican and American Marines, making possible theexchange of ideas and philosophies on everything from organizing patrols to engaging the enemy.

‘‘It’s great to have these guys come into this environment,” said Sgt. Angel Beltre, a radio instructor with the Communications School at OCS. ‘‘Their motivation and enthusiasm to train were excellent.”

‘‘They’re taking a lot of good knowledge back with them,” said Cpl. Israel Matos, a translator for the Mexican officers. ‘‘But we’re not just teaching them, we’re also learning from them. It’s a mutual experience.”

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