CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in ground-interoperability training aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., which began Nov. 13, 2014.
Ground interop was the start of workups for the elements of the Maritime Raid Force. This allowed them to come together and start working as a team. The MRF is made up of primary assaulters, the security element, and enablers from the MEU’s law enforcement detachment, Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company and ground sensor platoon.
This training brought the Marines of the MRF together to look at a problem set, make a plan and execute it. The training included three raids, each more complex than the last, where they were challenged to use each element to its full potential.
“It’s important that we’re doing this because we’re all going to be working together on the deployment,” said Capt. Andrew Kolb, the Force Reconnaissance Detachment and Maritime Raid Force commander. “The more repetitions we have early on, the more [standard operating procedures] we can validate among the elements of the MRF and it offers flexibility. Once we are deployed, we may not have the entire team together but we are still able to operate with sub-elements of the MRF.”
More repetitions help the Marines get used to working with each other and to learn everyone’s individual capabilities.
“I think some of the challenges up front are just everybody coming together and meeting each other; shaking hands, figuring out who everybody is and trying to put a face to the name,” Kolb said. “Then taking all the different SOPs, putting them together and making them function on a target site. That is really the essence of what ground interop is; it’s our ability to come together and work out any of the kinks or friction as early as possible so we can try to make this as fluid a process as we move forward from here.”
Working together during interop gave the members of the MRF a better perspective and understanding of the context for their missions.
“The biggest thing is just seeing how everyone works together,” said Staff Sgt. Jorge Calderon, a member of the MRF’s security element and a platoon sergeant with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. “I have a bunch of junior Marines, especially in my platoon, so they see the big picture of how everything works and how the mission accomplishment is supposed to be.”
Kolb explained that the MEU fights as a Marine air-ground task force, made up of a ground combat element, aviation combat element and a logistics combat element. The MRF is a great example of how certain components can be taken out of the MEU’s MAGTF and put together in a small package to provide a precision solution to a variety of problems.
“This is a great opportunity to work this in early on,” Kolb said. “This is where it all starts, this is where we come together as a team and this is what defines us.”