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Maldivian, U.S. Marines kickoff training for Coconut Grove

US Marine Corps News

By Cpl. Isis Ramirez, 4th Marine Regiment

GAN, Republic of Maldives -- It’s been more than three days since the “Alpha Raiders” set foot on the Maldivian soil—tropical and lush—which significantly contrasts from the dry California climate.

U.S. Marines from Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., join their Marine counterparts from the Maldivian National Defense Force to conduct bilateral training here during exercise Coconut Grove 2012, Oct. 6 to 17.

The exercise is scheduled bi-annually between the U.S. Marine Corps and the MNDF, and focuses on basic military skills training while improving on military-to-military relations.

“The U.S. Marine Corps trains with the MNDF, specifically their Marines,” said Maj. Brian Chase, commander of troops for I Marine Expeditionary Force during Coconut Grove. “We are here to train with them, to show them how we do things and get a chance to see how they do things as well.”

Some of the training includes basic small-unit tactics, refreshing skills in buddy rushing, grenade simulation training, combat marksmanship and basic combat lifesaving skills.

“Today’s exercises are focusing on small-unit tactics in order to build up for the final exercise,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Ludwig, platoon sergeant with Company A. “Both forces have to understand the importance of the small things like buddy rushing, (fragmentation) battle stations and (combat marksmanship).”

Aside from honing these tactical skills, Marines from Company A are gaining experience in an entirely different environment, conducting small-unit operations throughout the rainy season in a tropical, humid environment.

The U.S. Marines will continue to execute the fundamentals of basic war-fighting skills with their Maldivian partners, with an amphibious raid scheduled as the exercise’s culminating event.

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