CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marine Raiders on the West Coast focused on a core competency to kick off an exercise as they prepare for any potential mission they may face in support of Special Operations Command Pacific.
Marine Special Operations Company C, 1st Marine Raider Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command spent the first phase of their three-phase Company Collective Exercise practicing Foreign Internal Defense aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 5-8.
FID is the participation by civilian and military agencies of a government in in any of the action programs taken by another government or other designated organization to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, insurgency, terrorism, and other threats to its security. FID activities include host-nation military assistance, population security, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency.
Much of the company’s FID activities will be in the form of Joint Combined Exchange Training with host nation military forces and the company’s Operations Chief said it was important to make FID a priority during the exercise.
“We split our company CCE up into three phases, the first being focused on Foreign Internal Defense, and how we develop points of instruction, how we actually teach live-fire training to the FID forces, and then how we employ them into an operational setting,” said the Operations Chief.
On deployment, Marine Special Operations Teams with the company will partner with their SOF counterparts of a foreign nation to teach them various skills, tactics and procedures. The teams worked with supporting element Marines attached to the company who played the role of foreign forces during the exercise.
“This week, we had our support battalion Marines play the role of our partner nation,” said the Operations Chief. “Each team had half a squad that they trained – not a realistic number, but it gave them an opportunity to walk it out, and do everything they would do in preparation for a typically sized partner nation force.”
MSOT 3’s assistant element leader trained the notional FID force how to safely and accurately fire 60mm mortars at distant targets. He described how the team members benefited from practicing their FID skills during the exercise.
“We were looking to refine how we present classes, and how we evaluate the partner forces,” explained the Assistant Element Leader. “You get to find out what possible issues might arise while you’re teaching the classes and you can fix them here instead of (during a deployment).”
Training scenarios with the notional FID force spanned three nights. Each team had a designated night they, along with the FID force, raided a training compound aboard Camp Pendleton. The teams were in search of an individual considered to be a high value target, but were greeted by a hostile rebel force.
What made the scenario unique was the bilateral specification of the operation, explained the Operations Chief. The teams planned and conducted the raid with the FID force they had trained and built rapport with during the day.
Though the teams had not trained for this particular brand of direct-action raid, their operations chief was very pleased with the performance of both the Raiders and the notional FID force.
“Every one of the teams has been through very difficult training over the past few weeks, so when I see them tired and dirty, I always try to take a minute to be grateful that I have Marines in this company who are unbreakable,” said the Operations Chief. “Nobody takes no for an answer, because we all know what the mission is and we all know what we have to accomplish.”