U.S. Marines join in NATO exercise Trident Juncture
By Cpl. Kaitlyn Klein, Marine Corps Forces Europe
HMS OCEAN, Mediterranean Sea --
Exercise Trident Juncture 15, the largest NATO exercise in the past 10 years, came ashore recently to demonstrate NATO’s new increased level of ambition in joint modern warfare and will showcase a capable, forward leading Alliance equipped with the capacity to meet present and future security challenges.
U.S. Marines with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa aboard the HMS Ocean are among the thousands of service members taking part in the high-visibility exercise. Working alongside British Royal Marine Commandos on and off ship, U.S. Marines conduct exercises and operations in the host nations of Italy and Spain.
Trident Juncture directly supports NATO’s Readiness Action Plan, trains to improve total-force readiness, crisis and contingency response, and cooperative security. While aboard the HMS Ocean, U.S. Marines and Royal Marines familiarized themselves on each other’s tactics in order to build teamwork and camaraderie during the exercise.
“This has been an excellent opportunity to test our interoperability with the Royal Marines Commandos,” said First Sgt. Adam Smith, company first sergeant with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. “We have learned a lot about how the Royal Marines work, and also a lot about how we work.”
The amphibious forces conducted a variety of training exercises while ashore, such as beach assaults and raids in two of the host nations, Spain and Italy. The bilateral event demonstrates the Allied Maritime Basing Initiative, co-locating U.S. Marines on maritime platforms provided by Allied ships. In this case, U.S. Marine MV-22 Ospreys deployed Allied troops into Spain from a British ship, demonstrating the responsiveness of the total NATO team.
“U.S. and U.K. Marines have a long history of working together, and this operation is the closest we’ve worked in a long time,” said British Cpl. Rudi Taylor, a troop sergeant with 10 Troop Command, Zulu Company. “It’s been a steep learning curve, but both sides are adapting quickly. It’s been a privilege to work with the United States Marine Corps.”
U.S. Marines and the Royal Marines will continue to train aboard HMS Ocean underway to Portugal, and to further their preparation to the final phase of Trident Juncture.
“I would fight alongside the 45 Commandos any day,” said Smith. “They are truly our brothers-in-arms.”
Trident Juncture is one of many exercises ensuring that NATO is ready to deal with any emerging crisis from any direction, and that the Alliance is able to work effectively with partner nations.