Reserve Marines, Royal Commandos build cultural bridge during UK-based military exchange

12 Jun 2017 | Cpl. Dallas Johnson The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines with Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve, and 131 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers with the British Army, participated in exercise Red Dagger 17 in multiple locations around the United Kingdom, June 1-16, 2017.

With a partnership between the U.S. and U.K. that dates back to the 1980s, Red Dagger 17, now in its fourth consecutive year, intends to further share and strengthen knowledge and skills in military engineering between the Marine Corps and its allies.

“We have been treated as equals and with great respect,” said Capt. Marcelo A. Garcia, the company commander of 6th ESB, 4th MLG, MARFORRES. “The 131 Commando Squadron often asks for feedback and have insisted that this exercise is meant to be a sharing of best practices, both in tactics and planning.”

This year’s exercise has consisted of engineers training with bridging, engineer route reconnaissance and clearance, demolition ranges and heavy equipment operations. Along with those standard engineer exercises, traditional infantry support skills have also played a role in the Marines’ and the 131 Commando’s day-to-day operations.

British Commandos were also integrated directly into the engineer platoons, frequently giving instructions to Marines. 

“The staff worked together to plan and brief all of the training events,” said Garcia. “Achieving this type of interoperability and synchronization across all levels of command has been a great benefit to this operation.”

With the continued interoperability between partner nations being a recurring theme, plans to keep the exercise going well into the future will continue to keep the skills of 6th ESB relevant and ready when necessary.

“For greater immersion, background on how this notional operation fits into a larger notional war is a very useful detail,” said Garcia. “Next year, when we host the Commandos, it would be nice to do the same in return, as it tests the staff to craft this engaging type of exercise.”