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U.S. Marines play key role in Immediate Response 2010

Posted: December 17, 2009 1:21 p.m.
Updated: December 18, 2009 1:16 p.m.

U.S. Marines and Georgian army soldiers participate in a road march during Immediate Response 10, a joint military training exercise held in Tbilisi, Georgia, in November 2009 involving U.S. and Georgian armed forces.

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia - Clad in bandanas and wearing Taliban attire, U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., trained with Georgian soldiers here in November 2009, as they role-played as the opposing force for the field exercises of Immediate Response 2010.

Among the 70 Marines participating in IR10 was Pfc. Miguel Carrillo, Jr., of Canyon Country, Calif., son of Andrea and Miguel Carrillo, Sr.

The exercise involved approximately 200 troops from each country and was specifically geared toward the kind of counterinsurgency operations that the U.S. and Georgian militaries can expect to see in Afghanistan. Training events included individual and small-unit tasks, a live-fire exercise and a company-level, force-on-force exercise.

For several days during IR10, Marines were partnered with a Georgian army counterpart, and they trained together in combatives and physical fitness, studied each other's tactics, and came together as the opposing force against a combined U.S. Army and Georgian unit.

"They came out here and worked together, ate together, spent a lot of time together," said Sgt. 1st Class George Hutchinson, of Aniston, Ala., an observer controller with Hohenfels, Germany-based U.S. Seventh Army Joint Multinational Readiness Center's Grizzly Team. "They knew each other pretty well in a matter of days. It's great knowing they'll be able to fight together in whatever combat area they go to."

"The Georgians were all excited about training with us," said Pfc. Matthew Lechleiter, of Rothschild, Wis., of the 1-4th Marine Regiment. "They were always wanting to learn."

"I learned a lot from them and their tactics." Lechleiter added, "They bring the fight right away and don't mess around."

The joint training gave both the Marines and Georgians the opportunity to work through the barriers of different languages and different tactics, and to come together to accomplish a mission.

"The language barrier was hard at first, but after a while you find ways to work around it," observed HM Dallas Belford of Carrier Mills, Ill., a Navy corpsman assigned to the Marines.

During the exercise the Marines and their partnered Georgians road-marched together, ate together and stayed together in four-man tents at their bivouac site, with two Marines and two Georgians in each tent. The closeness of their training paid off with friendships and mutual respect.

"Communication was the hardest thing, but we figured out a way to communicate," said Carrillo. "I liked working with the other military personnel; it was an interesting experience."

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