Company of U.S. Marines comes to Israel for month of intensive training with IDF at Urban Warfare Training Center
Author: Rotem Eliav – IDF
August 14, 2011
The narrow streets and tall cement buildings of the world-renowned IDF Urban Warfare Training Center echoed with shouts in flawless English last week as U.S. Marine Corps soldiers delved into another close-quarters-battle drill. As part of the cooperation between IDF ground forces and the U.S. Marine Corps force stationed in Europe, a company of U.S. Marines came to Israel for a month of intensive training alongside IDF soldiers at IDF facilities. Dividing their time between the Adam Base in central Israel and the Tze’elim Base in the south, the soldiers trained in urban warfare, reconnaissance and target shooting.
As they embarked on a training exercise at the UWTC, Platoon Sgt. Robert Hattenbach explained, “We’ve never been to a mock town like that of the IDF.” He noted the facility’s size and unique structure. “It’s important for our soldiers to train in different sites, preparing them for anything,” he said. The Marines were thrilled to train at the city, raving about its realistic feel.
A smoke grenade hit the floor, rapidly secreting thick smoke of a vibrant color used for camouflage against the lurking enemy. Yelling out commands, M4s ready, Marines snuck from building to building, clearing out every room and securing their objective. The success of the operation is determined by the captain, and the “enemy” is a squad of the Marines platoon, hiding inside each multiple story building, waiting for the other squads to find them. “By training here, we can better combat terrorism in any area and field,” Hospital Corpsman HM1 Raymond Price elaborated. “Coming to Israel has been an inspirational trip. It’s beautiful to see how Israel has managed to preserve so many years of history, culture and tradition.”
“This trip was a serious wake up call,” said Sgt. Hattenbach. “The instructors at the Adam Base took the time to explain to us what’s been going on in Israel and we realized that Israeli people are just like us. We now better understand what Israel really is and when we go back to the U.S. we can tell people that.”
During earlier exercises that involved IDF forces, the U.S. Marines were impressed by their Israeli counterparts. “The tactics used by the snipers and special forces are much more efficient,” said Cpl. Lombard. “They also focus more on the safety of each individual soldier rather than the mission.”
The company is one of the only young Marines units; all at around 19 years old, they are close in age to IDF soldiers and were able to form close bonds. However, unlike IDF soldiers, the Marines volunteered to enlist. “We have a responsibility for our country,” the Marines said, “You can’t just sit at home hearing of everything going on in the world and remain idle.”
This particular company, the Marine Corps Fast Team Security Forces, enlisted for five years, three of which they spend deployed to Europe or Africa. After further infantry training, they are sent to battle fronts in either Iraq or Afghanistan.Before departing Israel, the company will go for a well-deserved rest at the Dead Sea.
IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis
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