Lejeune Marines and Royal Marines train together

14 Jun 2004 | Lance Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker

Royal Marines with 42 Commando hosted a capabilities exercise at the G3 Impact Area berm here June 10.

The Royal Marines spent the last two years planning for the event and got the order to move out only five weeks before the exercise commenced.

Before the exercise, a brief was given to dozens of viewers on what they would be seeing for the next 45 minutes. The brief was given by Maj. Simon Turner of Plymouth, England, the adjutant with 42 Commando. He talked about the types of vehicles and aircraft were being used and, specifically, where, when and what they would be doing.

Distinguished guests of various ranks and services witnessed the exercise from atop a tower approximately 500 yards from the berm. The main exercise seemed far away, but they had front row seats for the airdrops that went on for about 60 seconds.

Two British aircraft, comparable to the U.S. Marine Corp's CH-53s, swooped in and landed in seconds. Almost simultaneously, three smaller helicopters landed within 100 feet of each other, each dropping off dozens of men.

The men rushed the berm heavily armed with machineguns, sniper rifles and rocket launchers. They continued running until they safely took cover behind a barricade made of sandbags.

The Royal Marines commenced firing on simulated enemy tanks and targets that were staged at different distances throughout the field in front of them.

"Training here with [the U.S. Marines] is very good, because we get to see the different ways and methods [they] do the same job we do," said Marine Terry Nichols of Plymouth, England, a motors technician with 42 Commando.

Just two weeks before training in the hot, humid Camp Lejeune weather, the Royal Marines trained in Norway where it was approximately 22 Fahrenheit.

"It's good training to learn how to adapt to different climates," said Nichols.

Not only did the Royal Marines see a vast change in climate, they also saw a huge increase in training areas.

"Camp Lejeune is such an enormous facility," said Royal Lance Cpl. James Lucey of Bolton, England, a driver with 42 Commando. "We're not used to this much space to work in, but the more environments we train in the more skills we acquire."