15th MEU News

Combat Engineers; MNDF work together during bilateral training

31 Oct 2006 | Staff Sgt. T.G. Kessler

Marines from Combat Engineers Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 2/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) went ashore on the island of Kadhoo, Maldives for a series of bilateral training events with the Maldivian National Defense Force. 

Complimenting those events was a day of training involving day and night patrols with soldiers from the MNDF through the village of Tundi.

Among those Marines participating in the day’s training was Sgt Adam Sempert, a squad leader with combat engineer platoon, BLT 2/4. Sempert explained the purpose of the training was to sustain the basic urban skills, combat proficiency as well as a chance to work with the soldiers from the MNDF.

“It’s been great working with [the MNDF]. They know a lot [about their jobs], they’re really smart and they’ve shown us some useful tactics as well,” said Sempert.
Sempert explained some time had passed since his platoon last practiced in an urban environment, but to add some flavor to the training, the route took the patrol through an actual village with citizens milling about.

“It’s been a long since we’ve been able to train in an urban environment. The last time was back in July in Twentynine Palms [Calif.]” Sempert explained.

“We actually patrolled through a live village. Everybody was out here. We had kids coming up to us and people were standing around—it was very realistic,” said Sempert.

The rainy weather in Maldives played a factor on the Marines throughout their training experience, he said. Having conducted the workups throughout the Southern California, rain has not been a recent part of training, thus making the tropical downpour particularly unusual. Though it challenged them mentally and physically, it helped the Marines focus harder on their training.

According to Lance Cpl Cole Young, fire team leader with the combat engineer platoon, the training went smoothly for his platoon.

Young agreed with Sempert about the training environment. The opportunity to train in and around actual civilian personnel and a town added a larger sense of realism to the evolution.
As part of the training day, the Marines and the MNDF soldiers performed a night patrol throughout the village. The purpose of the night patrol was to give the MNDF troops an opportunity to work with night vision goggles and get used to moving around at night, Young explained.

“I think the [MNDF soldiers] are doing a good job. They are trying to work with us and the language barrier is a hard point but they understand hand and arm signals,” said Young.  “They seemed eager to learn and apply what we do. They are learning our ways and we’re trying to learn theirs and better ourselves.”

The 15th MEU (SOC), part of the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS Dubuque (LHD 4) and USS Comstock (LSD 45), is currently deployed in the Western Pacific Region.

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit