CAPU MIDIA, ROMANIA --
Marines with Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted amphibious assault vehicle training with Romanian Marines aboard Capu Midia, Romania, August 2, 2011.
The training was a part of the Summer Storm Amphibious Bilateral Exercise 11, a five-day exercise, with Romanian Marines from the 307th Marine Infantry Battalion, to increase the interoperability between American and Romanian forces.
MEU Marines started the day by showing the Romanian forces safety procedures while in an AAV. They covered emergency procedures, including when to remove gear and how to transfer from one AAV to another.
“Just like anything else in the Marine Corps, we make safety our number one priority,” said 1st Lt. Stephen T. Desmond, a platoon commander with Echo Company and Scituate, Mass., native. “Everything that we do has an element of danger with it so we try to limit safety mishaps.”
The AAV is not a vehicle the Romanians normally use so they also took time practice how to exit and move onto an objective from the AAV.
The Marines drove the AAVs to a nearby field, quickly dropped the ramp and let the Romanians practice exiting- just as they would during an actual amphibious raid.
“The training is very important because the AAV is such a unique vehicle,” said Desmond. “The Romanian Marines need to know that what they’re about to do needs to be done with speed and precision.”
Romanian 2nd Lt. Traian Apostolide, a platoon commander with the 307th Marine Infantry Battalion added that he found the training to be very interesting and by working together through the tactical differences between the Marines and Romanians, they came to a better understanding and better procedures for working with AAVs.
“We all gained experience and knowledge by doing those drills,” said Apostolide.
As part of the bilateral training with the Marines, the Romanians will conduct an amphibious raid from USS Whidbey Island to Capu Midia, Romania.
“It’s my first time on a big ship,” said Apostolide. “I’m very excited. I can’t wait to see what’s on it, how big it is and what the feeling is when you’re on the ship.”
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 potent, formidable and deterrent 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 each is comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response to hostile environment or crisis.