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Marines and foreign security role players are searching a car going through a vehicle check point when a simulated improvised explosive device explodes during a Situational Training Exercise Nov. 20 and 21 on Range 220A aboard the Combat Center. The skills they learn from this small portion of overall training will prepare the Marines for a more thorough Mission Rehearsal Exercise directly following.

Photo by Cpl. Margaret C. Hughes

STX prepares Marines to train foreign security forces

5 Dec 2008 | Cpl. Margaret Hughes

Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force and II Marine Expeditionary Force took part in a Situational Training Exercise Nov. 20 and 21 on Range 220A aboard the Combat Center.

This STX is a unique event that trains small groups of Marines to be advisors for foreign security forces.    The skills they learn from this small portion of overall training will prepare them for a more thorough Mission Rehearsal Exercise directly following.

“It is the walk of the crawl, walk and run process,” said Maj. Scott Kinner, the assistant operations officer for Advisor Training Group.

The exercise consists of multiple parts or lanes that allow the Marines to teach, coach and mentor while Iraqi and Afghan role players execute the tasks. The lanes include a meet and greet, site exploitation, room clearing, cordon, urban movement, medical lane, staff planning and vehicle check points.

The goal is to “provide immersion based training to expose the Marines to the complexities of operating with foreign security forces,” said Lt. Col. Richard Warmbold, the deputy director for Advisor Training Group.

The meet and greet and staff planning lanes are the most important because they are mission essential, Kinner said.  The sole purpose of these deployed Marines is to enable their Iraqi and Afghan counterparts to accomplish assigned missions more professionally and independently, which requires time getting to know and understand the foreign security forces capabilities so they can be better advised.

The meet and greet allows the Marines to initially meet the foreign security force role players that they will be living and working with, Kinner said.  The purpose of this aspect of the training is to begin developing a relationship with their counterparts, practice language skills, and interacting and employing their interpreter.

Staff planning allows advisor teams to conduct more work with foreign security force role players, Kinner said. This allows the Marines to learn more about their foreign counterparts’ personalities, morale, daily battle rhythm, patrol cycle, current and upcoming missions, and logistical and communication status of the security forces.

“It focuses the advisors on the mission they are about to embark on and the importance of the relationship that is formed with the foreign security forces they are embedding with,” Warmbold said.

All of the lanes are designed to challenge a team as a whole in a stressful environment, Kinner said.  The Marines will leave the lanes with a stronger confidence in stressful situations and more polished skill set.

“I have been involved in advisor training for more than two years, and I have yet to see any training conducted by any organization that measures up to the quality I witnessed,” said Army Col. Michael Clark, the deputy director for the Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance, who observed the Marines in the training exercise to analyze and disseminate information to increase the effectiveness of all advisor training.  “From the outstanding role players to the contemporary scenarios to the excellent cadre running the training, it all adds up to a first rate training experience for the students.”


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