CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait, (July 18, 2008) --
The Marines of Golf Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted bi-lateral training with some of Kuwait’s most elite fighters recently, with hopes of building operational ties and spreading tactical knowledge.
The exercise, dubbed “Eager Mace,” focused on Military Operations in Urban Terrain and squad-level tactics, expanding the existing relationship between U.S. and Kuwaiti military forces, according to 1st Lt. Alan J. Sung, Second Platoon Commander, Golf Company.
“The main thing is teaching each other different tactics, because we all think our tactics are the best. We want to show them some new tactics and not offend them at the same time and build off what they’ve got,” said Sung.
Eager Mace also helped bridge the cultural gap for some of the Marines in Golf Company who have little experience with Middle Eastern traditions or militaries. Though the tactics and procedures often differ, mutual goals helped the Marines and Kuwaitis find a common ground, continued Sung, who hails from San Jose, Calif.
“At first there was a little bit of a shock because we weren’t sure of [the Commandos] skill-sets,” said Sung. “The Marines learned to be patient and to work with them [because] ultimately, in the end, we are all fighting for the same thing.”
One of the greatest advantages of Eager Mace, given the continued operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, is the exposure to language and traditions of a culture foreign to many of the younger Marines of Golf Company, according to Sgt Carlos E. Mendoza, a 2nd Platoon Squad Leader. The cross training will help the Marines of Golf Company if ever they are called to conduct real-world operations, continued Mendoza.
“[Eager Mace] is very important, because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Mendoza. “It’s good for [the Marines] to be exposed to their heritage, what they do and how they do things, so they can understand better the people in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
For the Commandos, Eager Mace gave a different perspective on military operations being conducted across the border just north of Kuwait’s open desert training grounds, according to Mendoza, a native of Whittier, Calif. The intensity and seriousness of Marine Corps training will cross over to Kuwait’s elite Commandos, continued Mendoza.
“I hope [the Commandos] learn some of the tactics so they can use them if they ever go to a combat zone,” said Mendoza. “I hope they have an understanding of how we do things and how we train our Marines and what we expect of our Marines when we train.”
To the Kuwaiti Commandos, the Marines of Golf Company presented a constant state of professionalism and sense of purpose expected of the Marine Corps’ tip of the spear, according to Sergeant First Class Bader Ahmed Eissa, a Sniper with the Commandos. The most important lessons during Eager Mace, according to Eissa, were some of the most enduring ethos of Marine Corps tradition.
“Train like you fight and fight the way that you train. The Marines take it serious even when it’s training,” said Eissa. “Always take safety first and to take care of your equipment, so—no matter what the condition is, no matter if it is training or a real mission—when you get the order to go you’re good to go.”
To Eissa—who has been serving in the Kuwaiti military since the Gulf War—Golf Company strived hard to instill tactics that will benefit the Commandos in the future.
“I’m really thankful to all the Marines of every rank because they’re doing the best they can from their guts to teach the Commandos and pass the knowledge they have on to us.”
The Camp Pendleton, Calif., based 15th MEU is comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and Sailors and is a forward deployed force in readiness capable of carrying out numerous combat and humanitarian missions. The MEU is currently deployed aboard USS Peleliu (LHA-5), USS Dubuque (LPD-8) and USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52).