NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria -- Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force spent the month of January alongside soldiers from the nations of Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania during Platinum Lion 15, a multi-nation training exercise at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria.
BSRF service members were placed in groups with their international counterparts and rotated through five stations covering a multitude of skills, to include: Combat Lifesaver Course, dismounted patrolling, pistol marksmanship, urban patrolling and mounted patrolling.
During the Combat Lifesaver Course, Navy Corpsmen taught basic-medical skills to the Marines and soldiers. The mounted-patrolling class reviewed weapons from the Combined Anti-Armor Team Platoon, as well as how to attach vehicles together for towing. Weapons-exchange ranges were also held, allowing the four-country coalition to familiarize themselves with primary weapons of each nation.
“We [paired] each of the partner force platoons with a squad of Marines,” said Capt. Matthew Deffenbaugh, Platinum Lion 15 Officer-in-Charge. “The ability for us to integrate with [allied] and partner forces is crucial.”
The international pairings lasted throughout the training evolution, which led to partnerships that went beyond the training events.
“Of all the exercises we’ve done so far, this is the one where the Marines and [other] nations have come together the quickest,” said Deffenbaugh. “It’s fascinated me how at the [small-unit] levels they have integrated so well and become true partners in such a short period of time.”
Platinum Lion ended with warrior games, an hour-long athletic event between the services to promote friendly competition. The Marines and partner nations gathered after the day’s event to celebrate at a bonfire, solidifying friendships that grew that week regardless of a language barrier.
“For everyone to train as efficiently as we have, I think that puts us one step closer to being able to execute it for real when we need to,” said Deffenbaugh.