U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Female Engagement Team brought their unique skills and capabilities to share tactics and build interoperability with the Qatari Internal Security Forces Aug 9-20.
The Female Partner Force Engagement Team exchange included participants from 15th MEU FET Marines and Special Operations Command Central.
The all-female exchange included discussion and demonstration of tactics, techniques, and procedures on a wide variety of topics including emergency medical care, small-arms handling, and personal security detachment operations.
The MEU’s FET, led by Capt. Ashele Denny, is comprised of female Marines from a range of different military occupational specialties from the 15th MEU and its subordinate elements. These Marines were pulled together to share different skills with all-female forces who can’t train with male U.S. military members due to cultural boundaries.
The FPFET executed the subject matter expert exhchange with the Qatari Internal Security Forces Female VIP Protection Unit, or QFVPU. This was the second iteration of this type of training, and they exchanged tactics, techniques and procedures with the QISF.
“Qatar FPFET SMEE 15-1 is intended to strengthen the relationships established during SMEE 14-1 and pave the way for continued cooperation between the QISF and US Armed Forces,” said Navy Lieutenant Kathryn Murphy, the FET co-lead. “This sort of exchange provides the opportunity for partner nations and US Armed Forces to improve current TTPs and their abilities to combat violent extremism.”
The wide range of capabilities and expertise within the FPFET was the key to a successful exchange.
“The FPFET is composed of female US service members from all branches, billets and backgrounds who are considered experts in the skill sets covered in the exchanges,” Murphy said. “The joint aspect of this team provides the best opportunity for recruiting the most qualified women to represent the United States in a region where professionalism and dedication to duty are paramount.”
During the two-week exchange they covered how the US Armed Forces set up their medical kits, conduct CPR, and perform immediate medical care to wounded personnel. They also spent two days on the range shooting the SIG Sauer P226 pistol and M4 service rifle. Their final days were spent exchanging personal security detail strategies.
“It was interesting to compare and contrast our different tactics; in some areas we had a lot of similarities but others were very different,” said Cpl. Alexandra Beggio, a field radio operator with Medium Marine Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced), 15th MEU, and a member of the FPFET.
“For example, a lot of our PSD formations are very similar but the way we react to different situations differ. We definitely all got something out of it; it made us think outside the box and look at different ways to do things.”
These types of exchanges are essential for the U.S. Armed Forces to keep expanding their abilities as well as relationships with other forces.
"Fostering relationships with partner nations has become an essential element in combating violent extremism," said a SOCCENT FET member. "The FPFET is a critical component of this mission in the Central Command area of responsibility because it provides the vehicle that enables the US Armed Forces to bridge the cultural divide with our Middle Eastern counterparts through engagement and SMEEs with their all-female forces."
The lessons learned from each SMEE also provide key takeaways that can be applied to future engagements and improve future evolutions. The FPFET looks forward to the next potential engagement with the QFVPU to continue to expand and enhance their tactics and build their relationship. The subsequent cultural exchange fosters understanding and respect among the participants, forming a linchpin for continued partnership.