U.S. Marines cross-train with U.K. soldiers

U.S. Marines cross-train with U.K. soldiers

A corporal shows Maj. Brian Spooner (right) the 40 mm high explosive grenade. Photo by 1stLt Nicole Yuhas.

CAMP LEATHERNECK, AFGHANISTAN (April 5, 2013) - Marines with General Support Combat Logistics Company (GS CLC), Combat Logistics Regiment 2, teamed up with British Army soldiers from 1 Close Support Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (1 CS Bn REME), to conduct joint coalition training during the last month.

The partnership was established in March as a means to help improve maintenance capabilities for both units and to gain better understanding of how the other operates and the assets each contribute to the joint mission.

What started off with formal introductions and hosted tours of their relative maintenance lots weeks prior has quickly evolved into an exchange program between the two units.

"All of us are working together – the same team," said Maj Brian Spooner, commanding officer, GS CLC. "(This is) just another way the two teams are working together to improve procedures and essentially improve the greater [International Security Assistance Force] team."

Five British soldiers spent two days at the GS CLC Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA) lot aboard Camp Leatherneck, while four Marines went to the REME maintenance lot on Camp Bastion during the first exchange April 2-3.

At the IMA, the British soldiers were paired up with Marines who had similar jobs and trained hands-on with various systems and equipment.

Craftsman Karl Lusardi, an armorer with 1 CS Bn REME, spent the first day with the GS CLC Ordinance Maintenance Section where he worked on a variety of weapons, taking them apart and putting them back together. On the second day, Lusardi went to the metal shop where he was introduced to the multitude of tools the Marines use to create, fix and repair anything and everything metal.

"I was able to see what is similar and what is different (from us)," explained Lusardi.

Another British soldier worked on radios, computers and calibration systems with Marines from the Communications Electronic Maintenance Section and the other soldiers were getting their hands dirty maintaining vehicles with Motor Transport Platoon.

The two units have relatively similar tasks in providing the full spectrum of maintenance support to warfighters. However, the tools and equipment each uses to accomplish that mission varies.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 David Maston, the Maintenance Platoon commander with GS CLC, explained it is important for Marines to learn other ways of doing things and to become familiar with the equipment other military services, even foreign services, utilize.

"That's one benefit of conducting cross-cultural training and doing joint work," said Maston. "You never know what kind of equipment you'll be handed to work on."

Even as 1 CS Bn REME is schedule to redeploy in the near future, at which time 6 CS Bn REME will take their place, both sides are optimistic that the exchange program and cross-training endeavors will continue.

"I am positive that we will set the foundations for a lasting partnership here in Afghanistan," said Capt Dean Eamer, the battalion technical officer for 1 CS Bn REME.

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