MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania -- Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force 14 conducted training with Romanian soldiers from the 812th Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Bistrita, Romania, Oct. 7 to 12, 2013.
Platinum Lynx kicked-off with an opening ceremony to begin the engagement and partnership between U.S. and Romanian forces.
Marines, sailors and soldiers conducted mounted and dismounted patrols, a platoon live-fire exercise, movement-to-contact, and concluded with a closing ceremony. The Marines and sailors also got to experience culture in the surrounding area with a cultural day held on that Saturday.
The partnership between these two forces tie-in with BSRF-14’s mission of promoting regional stability and security, increasing military capacity and interoperability and maintaining partnerships with their counterparts in Eastern Europe.
Romanian First Sergeant Florin Zanfir, a squad leader with the 812th MIB, said that the opening ceremony was an introduction of both forces, and helped them get to know each other better.
“The opening ceremony is good because we have to respect the countries that we have to work alongside; we have to know each other, the techniques, tactics and procedures better,” said Zanfir.
Corporal Roderic Liggens, an infantryman with BSRF-14 and Washington, D.C. native, said that the opening ceremony was a presentation to welcome the Marines to Bistrita.
“It shows the news and other networks that [the Marines] are here [promoting] partnerships with other forces,” said Liggens.
After the opening ceremony, the Romanian soldiers showed the Marines their various vehicles and weapons systems. Marines and soldiers ended the day with rehearsals for the upcoming events.
The Marines and soldiers began working together on mounted and dismounted patrols, and a quick reaction force, which consisted of setting up cordons inside the defense of operations, loading vehicles and patrolling, and patrolling on foot.
Marines and soldiers were able to adapt and overcome any challenges they encountered while training together in new terrain.
“In this training the dismounted patrol was better because in that area there is not a lot of space to maneuver,” said Zanfir. “There are a lot of slopes so it was better for the soldiers to come on foot.”
Liggens said that, overall, there were many positive outcomes with the mounted and dismounted patrols.
“They were very good with communication with radios,” said Liggens. “When we were getting attacked they were able to gain enough distance so if an improvised explosive device [were to go off], it would only affect one vehicle compared to all of them.”
The following day the Marines and soldiers participated in a live-fire exercise which consisted of buddy-rushing and movement-under-fire.
Liggens said that the platoon live-fire proved to be a challenge because the Marines had to adapt to a new way of shooting.
“The range was awesome because of how they made it in line with the trenching, it gave Marines training with how to basically dive in the trench and shoot from it,” said Liggens. “We had to adapt because we are so used to shooting from the prone, and we couldn’t do that so we had to get used to shooting in an unstable position. It also let them know that you can take a whole platoon and move them either simultaneously or at different times.”
The last training event of the week was movement-to-contact which started off with a mounted patrol, followed by Marines and soldiers walking up a hill where they had to work together to cordon off the surrounding area from IED’s. To complete the exercise, Marines and soldiers were ambushed and then had to find a weapon’s casualty.
“It’s to see how the [Marines] work, and for them to see how the Romanian forces work,” said Zanfir. “It’s all about the cooperation between these two nations, and after the training to be better on both ends.”
The training was beneficial for both the Marines and Romanians.
“I think that it will benefit us in the future,” said Liggens. “It builds a longer lasting relationship so we’ll know how to work together, so now it won’t be so difficult for them to understand the way we do things, and for us to understand the way that they do things.”
The week-long exercise was concluded with a closing ceremony held on Friday. The Romanian forces expressed gratitude for the partnership and training evolutions conducted during the week. The Marines expressed their gratitude by offering gifts to some of the Romanian soldiers.
The training and partnership between the U.S. and Romanian forces proved to be an integral part of BSRF-14’s mission of maintaining and further strengthening a close and solid relationship with its partner nations in the region, and promoting regional stability with common interests in the Black Sea, Caucasus and Balkan region.