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Devil Dogs prepare Black Wolves for Contingency Operations

US Marine Corps News

5/17/2012 By Cpl. Paul Zellner, Black Sea Rotational Force

IASI, Romania — Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force 12 trained with Romanian soldiers from the 151st and 634th Infantry Brigades May 8-18.

“The training is designed to enhance the preparedness of the Romanian troops for missions in different theaters of operations, where currently the Romanian armed forces are deployed,” said Romanian Col. Dan Caslariu, exercise coordinator.

“The end state is to strengthen interoperability between the Romanian armed forces and our NATO partners.”

Romanian soldiers and Marines have trained and worked together in Iraq and Afghanistan. Romania still has approximately 1,700 soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force mission.

“This training is very important for the Marines too because we are fighting alongside them in Afghanistan,” said 1st Lt. Alaghakiz N. Ghongkedze, 3rd Platoon commander, ground combat element, BSRF 12.

“They are also a part of the ISAF mission and this training aids us in becoming confident in each other’s abilities.”

Both militaries have years of experience and knowledge throughout their ranks. Marine non-commissioned officers took charge of the training and ran all training with little to no supervision. They are not the only ones though with the capabilities to train the junior service members and pass on valuable skills that could one day save lives.

“The Romanian soldiers have a lot of experience, especially some of the NCOs who have up to three deployments already to Iraq and/or Afghanistan,” said Sgt. Juan A. Urbina, 3rd squad leader, 4th platoon, GCE, BSRF 12.

“So we’re sharing information and learning from each other’s experiences. Their tactics are very similar to ours but they are learning a lot about our equipment.”

During the ten-day training the Marines and sailors were also invited to participate in a citywide ceremony celebrating Victory Day, Romanian Independence and Europe Day. A small group of Marines escorted a wreath honoring fallen service members of World War II to be placed on a national monument.

This marked the first time American military personnel observed or took part in the Iasi ceremony. The Marines and sailors were also invited to take in the sights and sounds of Romanian culture as they attended a concert and dinner hosted by the Romanian military. The concert included the Romanian folk singing and dancing as well as the local military band.

Some of the Romanian soldiers taking part in the training will deploy to Afghanistan next year to support the ISAF mission.

The Black Sea Rotational Force 12 is a Special-Purpose MAGTF with crisis response capabilities deployed to the region to enhance interoperability, promote regional stability and build camaraderie amongst the forces.

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