Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Since 2004, Australian Army soldiers have come to the Combat Center to assist the Coyote Marines with TTECG. They are referred to as Dingos.
They come to the Combat Center not only to aid the Coyote Marines with Tactical Training Exercise Control Group in Integrated Training Exercise assessments, but also here to learn different combat tactics and techniques from the Marine Corps.
There are currently six Dingos attached to TTECG on the Australian Army’s 32nd rotation.
“We are here to give another set of eyes and a different perspective on the training,” said Australian Army Capt. James Tarpley, Dingo 6, TTECG. “Australia and U.S. are very close allies. This promotes training between our two forces and countries. The benefits far out weigh any budgetary constraints both our countries are going through at the moment.”
The U.S. forces work closely with the Australian Army overseas. The Dingos help familiarize the Marines training with their nation’s military tactics, and in return, the Australians receive the same benefit from the Marines.
“The main emphasis was because we work together in Afghanistan,” Tarpley said. “Australians work quite a lot in Helmand. The key outtake is that there is understanding in our respective techniques and procedures. The way we are in country, in the future in different gears of war, we still understand what each military’s restrictions and also their strengths and weaknesses are.”
“It’s also a benefit that you guys can actually understand what we are saying sometimes. When you hear an Australian accent for the first time in country, people will give blank stares,” Tarpley joked.
The opportunity to come to the Combat Center gives the Dingos a unique outlook on the differences of how the two countries conduct training. The soldiers have a chance to see the positives and negatives in how the two militaries prepare for combat.
“Taking lessons from the training we do and utilize is definitely a huge factor why we are sent here,” Tarpley said. “We maintain our standards but we take the lessons of what (the Marines) do better than us and apply them and continue to develop.
“It gives us perspective that we would rarely get back in Australia,” Tarpley said. “What we don’t have is the budget and the size that the Marine Corps works on. For example, a live fire company attack would be probably two weeks of blank fire drills.
“Seeing it from the U.S. perspective, the techniques and tactics are different, but the biggest thing for us is the exposure to that live-fire component. It’s very rare for us to get our hands on,” Tarpley added. “It’s really good for a junior officer and noncommissioned officer to get that exposure.”
The Dingos were sent here, not only to observe training, but also to experience a new training environment not readily available in Australia.
“We are strong allies, there’s no feeling of being guarded. Everyone seems to love having Australians here,” Tarpley said. “The thing I’ve been most impressed by is they’re very accommodating and upfront with the information. They realize we do things slightly differently, so everything is very accommodating and welcoming. We’ve all been a little bit confused by the acronyms, though.”