U.S. Marines in Bulgaria Conclude Exercise Platinum Lion

U.S. Marines in Bulgaria Conclude Exercise Platinum Lion

U.S. Marines completed Exercise Platinum Lion 17.1, conducting multiple training operations alongside eight partner nations from the Black Sea and Caucasus regions in Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, 12 Dec. to 21 Dec., 2016, to improve interoperability and tactical strength amongst NATO partners. Photo by LCpl Timothy Lutz.

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES EUROPE AND AFRICA (December 23, 2016) — U.S. Marines completed Exercise Platinum Lion 17.1, conducting multiple training operations alongside eight partner nations from the Black Sea and Caucasus regions in Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, 12 Dec. to 21 Dec. 2016, to improve interoperability and tactical strength amongst NATO partners.

"To bring together nine militaries like this is a rare and really important opportunity," said Eric Rubin, the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria. "Working with Bulgaria and our allies gives us more readiness and capability. That increases stability, it increases the likelihood that there will be peace. That's what we do in NATO. That's why it's so important that we have these opportunities."

The Marines from the Black Sea Rotational Force's Golf Company as well as Marines from the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team worked side by side several countries to create combined, multi-national companies. The companies participated in training scenarios such as a Combat Life Savers' course, simulated casualty evacuation drills, combat marksmanship, room clearing procedures, and live-fire squad attacks.

"[The exercise] allowed the squad leaders to partner with the other nations, and then go over their own procedures for patrolling, ambushes, raids, and deliberate attacks," said Capt Norman Renfro, Golf Company Commander. "The benefits go both ways. The biggest one for us is the ability to get out and interoperate with a lot of the allies in the region."

The exercise is the culminating event of the Black Sea Rotational Force, rotation 16.2, as well as including the most partner nations in a single exercise throughout Golf Company's stay overseas. The operations focused on enhancing the participating nations' abilities to conduct joint conventional operations and combined arms integration at the company and squad levels. The exercise will improve collective military capabilities and enhance professional relationships with allies and partner militaries during a crisis.

"It just builds those partnerships and maintains the relationships that provides regional stability and security," said LtCol Paul Teachey, the Black Sea Rotational Force Commander for rotation 16.2. "It's crucial to work joint, so that we know this is a combined effort."

Black Sea Rotational Force is an annual multilateral security cooperation activity between the U.S. Marine Corps and partner nations in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions designed to enhance participants' collective professional military capacity, promote regional stability and build enduring relationships with partner nations.