CHISINAU, MOLDOVA --
The Marines and a sailor with the unit had an opportunity to meet with embassy personnel for a discussion regarding a response to a natural disaster scenario.
Adam Lason, the regional security officer (RSO) with the embassy, portrayed the importance of this exercise as “the tactical exercise without troops enabled the embassy’s RSO to conduct detailed planning in preparation for future joint exercises, or real-world response, with the military to ensure protection of the U.S. Embassy.”
For many of the Marines, this was their first time working with the Department of State.
“Unlike working with joint forces, this was not an event that many Marines usually have the opportunity to experience,” explained Staff Sgt. Travis Maben, a communications Marine with BSRF. "Being allowed to take part in building relations with different government agencies better enhances our abilities to deter and mitigate any issues or concerns we may endure when conducting operations."
The table-top exercise reviewed the techniques, tactics and procedures for securing the embassy and conducting a possible non-combatant evacuation operation.
“Emergency planning at any embassy is a key priority of any RSO and is a constant focus,” Lason explained to the Marines.
This was the first embassy reinforcement exercise using the Marines of BSRF and MRF-E in Moldova. However, BSRF Marines have participated in several exercises over the years at other U.S. embassies.
“These exercises were highly successful and helped to improve emergency preparedness,” expressed Lason.
This exercise also provided Marines the opportunity to designate landing zone, evacuation sites and standard operating procedures pertaining to a variety of crisis response situations. Marines had an opportunity to walk the compound and get a first-hand look at how an embassy operates, identifying some of the critical vulnerabilities.
“I have learned how to reinforce an embassy and what all has to go into it, not just the security part,” said Cpl. Anthony Rispoli, a section leader with BSRF. "This provided Marines with the experience to more effectively conduct operations in and around the embassy."
Touring the embassy and surrounding areas, allowed the participants an opportunity to understand all considerations and factors involved in successfully conducting an embassy reinforcement, greatly impacting the Marines planning process.
“Visiting the site now rather than later put things into a more realistic perspective,” said Maben. "In doing so I was able to identify what assets would be necessary to bring along to better assist with meeting the intent of the reinforcement mission."
The planning conducted by the Marines provided valuable information that will help future BSRF rotations participate in full-scale embassy reinforcement exercises. Exercises like this demonstrate the Marine Corps’ continued commitment to regional partners and promoting regional stability.