Marines

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Capt. Scott Silva, operations officer with Marine Combat Training Battalion, School of Infantry-East, talks to officers with the Lebanese Armed Forces aboard Camp Devil Dog during an engagement visit to the United States, May 3. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was the first stop for these LAF officers who teamed up with officials from Marine Corps Forces Central Command to visit Marine Corps training facilities along the East Coast during their week-long visit to the U.S.

Photo by Cpl. Jo Jones

USMC and Lebanese foster international relationships

3 May 2010 | Cpl. Jo Jones

Officials with Marine Corps Forces Central Command teamed up with officers from the Lebanese Armed Forces to walk the grounds of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune during an engagement opportunity, May 3. 

This trip is the first of three stops during a week-long tour along the East Coast where LAF personnel can observe Marines in action.

“We are supporting MARCENT by providing the Lebanese Armed Forces with an overview of the system approach to training here at the School of Infantry-East,” said Maj. Douglas Zimbelman, an operations officer with SOI-East.  “The purpose of the tour is to visit training facilities and familiarize the Lebanese military officers with formal training programs currently used by the Marine Corps.”

The LAF officers started their tour of Camp Lejeune by visiting military personnel with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.  They discussed management strategies and training involving infantry battalions and toured static displays of various weapons systems such as the M-2 .50-caliber machine gun and M-249 squad automatic weapon. 

Afterward, LAF officials headed into the forests of Camp Devil Dog where they looked at terrain models and observed Marine Combat Training Battalion students execute combat skills at the Military Operations on Urban Terrain training center.

Lt. Col. Clarence “Roy” Edmonds, the Lebanese desk officer for MARCENT, said this trip was just one of many steps taken toward the long-term goal of security cooperation between the U.S. and Lebanon.

“They have a need for training plan development and training facilities,” said Edmonds.  “We offered to conduct a visit to multiple facilities and meet leaders to discuss training plan development.”

MARCENT and LAF military personnel are scheduled to visit the Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group in Norfolk, Va., and The Basic School and Weapons Training Battalion in Quantico, Va.

Maj. Walid Abou Chaar, a senior officer with the LAF, said a big difference between the U.S. and Lebanon is the lack of infantry training facilities set up for women in Lebanon.  Women who serve in the Lebanese military primarily fill logistics roles and are currently not trained in basic infantry skills. 

Walid, who has now visited the United States three times, said he always learns something new on each visit and expressed how much he enjoys interacting with the Marine officers. 

“The visit is excellent,” said Walid.  “I really enjoy working with (the Marines).”

Edmonds said these trips not only allowed both MARCENT and LAF officials to complete their mission objective, but more importantly allowed opportunities for the two nations to foster positive international relationships.

“Every military force has a specific skills set and when we engage with our partners, we have to go in with an open mind,” said Edmonds.  “Not only does this give us an opportunity to engage with our partner nation of Lebanon, these engagements also provide short (opportunities) for Marines to gain cultural experiences.”