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A Marine with Company B, 1st Tank Battalion moves alongside tanks manned by Australian Army soldiers at Range 200, June 25, 2013.

Photo by Cpl. William J. Jackson

Marine, Aussies connect with tanks

28 Jun 2013 | Cpl. D.J. Wu

Marines with Company B, 1st Tank Battalion and Australian Army soldiers with B Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment teamed up for bilateral training during exercise Gold Eagle at the Combat Center, June 25.

Gold Eagle 2013 focuses on bilateral tank training between the Marine Corps and the Australian Army. The allied forces started their one-month training evolution June 1 with the squadron’s arrival at the Combat Center. The unit made their way to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, where they practiced amphibious maneuvers. They returned to the Combat Center to continue working together on tactics, techniques and procedures.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to come across and train with a force with very similar requirements and challenges,” said Australian Army Maj. Tim Tiller, officer commanding, B Squadron, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance . “The key objectives of Gold Eagle are to cement (our) bilateral relationship in terms of the tank community, cross level of best practice in a number of mission profiles and to conduct a number of activities that are not easily done in Australia.”

On the 25th the two units worked on their tank-infantry integration skills, rear passage of lines and breaching. Platoons from the units cycled through the operations to gain proficiency in each aspect. It is also a unique opportunity for the Marines of Co. B, 1 Tanks, to learn from their international partners.

“Their overall importance is the strengthening with our allies,” said 1st Lt. Louis Carrano, commanding officer, Co. B, 1st Tanks. “We’re learning the different ways to do things. They have strong traditions in their armored regiment and the same with 1st Tanks. We’re working toward the same goal, but we have different ways of getting there. They teach us how they do things and we teach them how we do things.”

Gold Eagle covers many aspects of tank warfare. The units involved practiced amphibious movements and tank and infantry integration as well as breaching and other tank engineering procedures. The units are set to continue these operations with a tactical assault including a large scale breach using a Mine Clearing Line Charge during the assault.

“It’s been great for my Marines,” Carrano said. “They get to interact with these guys and hang out. They get to see some different faces”

It’s been a learning experience for both sides. Alongside learning TTPs, both units share a military culture, but they are also learning about each other’s geographical and national culture and heritage. It is something that can go past day to day training exercises and make a mark on how they interact with others in the future.

“I think the importance of bilateral exchanges,  such as this one, is understated, not just what we can achieve in the field, but in cementing those relationships (of the two units),” Tiller said.
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