SAINT-ASTIER, France --
U.S. Marines formed a human barricade alongside members of the French National Gendarmerie to protect a simulated U.S. Embassy during a riot control exercise at the National Gendarmerie Training Center in St. Astier, France, May 12-15, 2016.
The Marines held their ground while rioters threw flaming Molotov cocktails and rubber bricks, dispersing the crowd with CS grenades and other riot control techniques practiced earlier in the week with the Gendarmes, a French military federal law enforcement organization.
“It’s a great opportunity to improve our skills together,” said Maj. Andre Rakoto, training coordinator between the Gendarmerie and U.S. Marines. “The French Gendarmes have good expertise in riot control and crowd control so we exchange our practices and techniques with the Marines. And the Marines have a great level of efficiency as kinetic units so we also learn from their expertise in combat. This partnership allows us to train together and gain from each other’s experience.”
This training not only reinforces the strong relationship between the United States and France, it also prepares the Marines and Gendarmes to work together in possible real-world scenarios at embassies around Europe and Africa.
“We’re very honored and proud to train with the Marines,” said Rakoto. “We are very proud that our expertise in riot training and crowd control training is known and appreciated so we are very happy to share it with the Marines. It’s a very rewarding experience to work with such great warriors.”