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Lance Cpl. Gary Goldman, exercise advisor, 3rd Light Armor Reconnaissance Battalion, watches a United Arab Emirate soldier reload his SIG516 during live-fire training on Range 108, Combat Center training area, Sept. 18. Marines took ample time demonstrating the correct techniques for UAE soldiers, to ensure proper execution and stressed safety on the firing line.

Photo by Pfc. Thomas Mudd

Combat Center Marines take lead on live-fire training

23 Sep 2014 | Pfc. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

3rd Light Armor Reconnaissance Battalion Marines conducted live-fire training with 1st Company, 17th Battalion, United Arab Emirates Presidential Guard Reconnaissance Group, aboard the Combat Center Sep. 17 and 18.

The UAE soldiers participated in various training exercises to increase proficiency in patrolling, combat marksmanship, reconnaissance and surveillance.

“Generally speaking, we have gained a great deal working together with the Marines, said Capt. Ahmed Humaid Al Shamsi, company commander of 1st Company, 17th Battalion, UAE Presidential Guard Reconnaissance Group. Your ranges are exeptional in the way they are set up and in the way you have utilized modern technology, such as the moving targets.”

The Marines of 3rd LAR have been working with the soldiers since the beginning of September. The joint training has also helped strengthen the relationship between the nations.

“My men clicked so well with the Marines [during training],” said 1st Sgt. Salem Saeed, senior enlisted advisor, 1st Company, 17th Battalion, UAE Presidential Guard Reconnaissance Group. “We work as if there are no language barriers, no impediments of any kind.”

The soldiers started their training with patrolling exercises and counter Improvised Explosive Device training.

The next week was spent patrolling battle-sight zeroing throwing live hand grenades, combat marksmanship, room clearing, light machine guns and finally squad and platoon size maneuvers.

“I would like to emphasize one point, and that is morale,” said Saeed. “The morale of my men has been really enhanced. I feel it, I sense it. It has been getting better every day.”

The solders practiced these skills with guidance from 3rd LAR Marines. During their training the soldiers where split into three squads to conduct a combat marksmanship competition between their best shooters and determine who excelled at combat marksmanship the best. Third squad won the event while following the instructions being shouted by the Marines. The UAE soldiers used their SIG516 rifles from various distances while aggressively firing hammer pairs followed by shots to the head or pelvic areas on their targets.

While conducting room clearing exercises, the soldiers were coached by the Marines. The Marines started the soldiers off in pairs, going in to one room and cautiously clearing the corners to secure the objective. The soldiers practiced room clearing several times without live ammunition. After they practiced their technique the UAE soldiers then moved to live ammunition.
The live fire training exercises covered multiple weapons and techniques, including their light machine guns.

The soldiers fired in pairs from several positions using their M249. The automatic rifleman also moved into different positions to practice communicating while using the weapons.
The exercise then transitioned from building clearing to squad maneuvers.

The squads had two maneuver elements and one support element. The maneuver elements used the SIG516 rifles and the support element used two M249 with two spotters using the SIG516s.

“We came here and we trained and we gained so much knowledge.” Saeed said. “Some of these things we have done before, but we learned your way of doing it and that I feel has enhanced our experience.”

While executing the maneuvers, Marines had two elements bounding past one another to attack targets while the third element followed. During this portion of training, Marines also taught the UAE squad leaders how to effectively lead their squad during movements.

“It’s good training for me and it’s good for all the members of the squad. It teaches them how to teach other people. When we get more junior Marines we are already a step ahead,” Hyde said.

The UAE soldiers concluded their three-week training evolution through live fire training, room clearing and combat marksmanship. The soldiers have trained and are prepared to return to the UAE later this week.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms