Platinum Lion: Multilateral exercise strengthens humanitarian response, combat readiness
By Sgt. Derrick K. Irions, Defense Media Activity
Novo Selo, Bulgaria -- Following 11 days of unabated multilateral training, military forces from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and the U.S. operated side-by-side during the final exercise of Platinum Lion 14-2 Aug. 11 at the Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria.
During the seven-hour humanitarian scenario, an escalating conflict between two socially-divided urban towns resulted in a deployment of peacekeeping entities.
Confusion, uprisings, chaos and casualties added to the realism and complexity of the exercise meant to evaluate the overall interoperability of the four participating nations.
"The exercise was based on a real-life event in Africa," said Capt. Jordan Schultz, company commander with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, referring to a similar peacekeeping operation that he and his Marines had prepared for in the past.
The final exercise began with a humanitarian scenario that required quick reaction times and precise maneuvers to resolve the ongoing strife, adding that the four nations performed their respective assignments at a level higher than anticipated, according to Schultz.
"There was a situation during the FEX when a rival villager attempted to infiltrate our village to tactically acquire some of our water," said Cpl. Zachary Ruppert, the villager role player and a team leader with 3rd Bn., 8th Marines. "If it weren't for the Romanians, who were providing a good security buffer, myself and the other villagers were going to hold him captive and threaten an attack on the opposing village in retaliation for stealing what little resources we had. The Romanians did exactly what the circumstance required. They detained the thief and defused the situation."
The practical application exercise gave the participating units an opportunity to showcase the knowledge, techniques and tactics that were taught during the foregoing days.
Exercise Platinum Lion is an annually-scheduled engagement focused on enhancing regional stability and security through multilateral training including: combat life saver, non-lethal systems, fixed-site security and convoy operations.
Military engagements like Platinum Lion continue to bolster relations with regional ally and partner nations, enhance interoperability and provide the capability for contingency response in correlation with directives issued by U.S. European Command.
"This exercise is far from unimaginable, these types of engagements can and do actually happen, said Ruppert. "This exercise offers each participating nation a chance to identify and address mistakes in a training environment rather than react to them in a real-world emergency situation where it could be the difference of life and death."