LAR trains with Spanish Piranhas

25 Jun 2011 | Cpl. Dwight A. Henderson

U.S. Marines with Light Armored Reconnaissance Platoon, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted bilateral, mounted, counter improvised explosive device training with Spanish Marines assigned to reconnaissance platoon, 3rd Mechanized Landing Battalion, Spain, June 25, 2011.

The training was part of the Spanish Amphibious Bilateral Exercise, also known as PHIBLEX, a 10-day evolution involving U.S. Marines with the 22nd MEU training alongside Spanish Marines from 3rd Battalion, Spanish Marines, to build relations and increase interoperability between Spain and America.

The U.S. Marines taught the Spanish their tactics, techniques and procedures when they encounter an IED while in a light armored vehicle.

“This training is extremely important for the Spanish,” said 1st Lt. Steven A. Keegan, the LAR platoon commander and Rancho Cucamonga, Cali., native. “It’s very important they understand counter IED TTPs in order to be prepared for Afghanistan.”

First they educated the Spanish how to identify an IED by guiding them through an IED lane full of hidden IED identifiers.

The U.S. Marines then showed the Spanish Marines how to proceed if they spot an IED while in an LAV.  During the training they observed and critiqued as the Spanish followed with some small variations of their own.

“They saw us do it and the next time they went out and did it perfectly,” said Keegan. 

The U.S. Marines and Spanish worked together for three days covering other procedures such as vehicle formations, reconnaissance and bounding.

“Working with the Marines is a pleasure because we get to incorporate what they taught us,” said Spanish Marine 1st Lt. Sergio Rivera, the platoon commander for Reconnaissance Platoon.

Most of the Marines from the platoon have deployed to Afghanistan, and with another Afghanistan deployment around the corner, the Spanish are trying to learn from previous experience.

“This training will help us in Afghanistan because of the MEU Marines’ combat experience,” said Rivera.

It is not all one sided though, the 22nd MEU Marines learned a great deal from the Spanish as well.  They augmented a few of their procedures to reflect their Spanish brothers’ best practices.

“We’re not only teaching them, but they’re teaching us,” said Keegan.

The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group serving as a flexible, formidable and potent force who continues to train and improve their capability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.

The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, commanded by Col. Eric J. Steidl and comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.

Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response to hostile environment or crisis.

22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit