FORT STORY, Va. --
A U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South, security cooperation team graduated from a three-month predeployment training program at Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group aboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story, Va., Jan. 13.
Since October, MCSCG Marines and sailors supported the 14-man team in refining their language and cultural skills prior to the team supporting security cooperation activities in the Central and South America region.
“Although many of the principles that Marines utilize when advising and building rapport with a host nation counterpart is similar, every culture has a few differences which are important to understand,” said Capt. Jonathan Lucas, officer-in-charge of the Training and Instructor Group at MCSCG. “This team spent four weeks immersed in the Spanish language and learning the history and customs prevalent in Central and South America. They also role played several cultural scenarios with our foreign area officers to understand how those cultural considerations will play out in real life. This knowledge will pay large dividends as this team interacts with members of other countries during their deployment.”
In addition to the cultural and language training, the team refreshed its tactical-level training, anti-terrorism and force protection measures, while also polishing their military advisor skills.
“The predeployment workup at MCSCG gave us a lot of 'real world' skills that could help us in a variety of situations, i.e. the best shooting package I've been through, language and culture classes, medical training, offensive/defensive driver course, advanced apprehension course, SERE [survival, evasion, resistance, escape] negotiation/mediation training, CASEVAC [casualty evacuation], communications, and surveillance/counter-surveillance techniques,” said Capt. Jeremy Dutton, assistant team leader for the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South, security cooperation team.
The culminating event of the team’s training package was a five-day regionally focused certification exercise in which the team put into practice all the skills reviewed throughout their time at MCSCG.
“The team performed very well during the CERTEX and overcame the challenges presented to them,” said Lucas. “Our roles players created some unique cultural dilemmas which required quick thinking, interpersonal skills, and the ability to negotiate differences. Additionally, the team had to work hard to create quality training events on short notice; which is good preparation for the kinds of missions they will receive during their deployment to Central and South America.”
“The CERTEX is absolutely a needed tool,” said Dutton who is a University of Kansas graduate. “It gave us the opportunity to identify our strengths and weaknesses, and identify any shortfalls that can be corrected to give us the greatest chance for success downrange. I feel truly confident in our team’s ability to successfully complete any mission that is handed to us.”
The U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South, security cooperation team is one of the many teams that receive predeployment training here at MCSCG throughout the year. Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group is currently conducting predeployment training for a security cooperation team that will support U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Africa and is also spearheading the training of Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group. It is a unit in the Marine Corps that coordinates, manages, executes, and evaluates United States Marine Corps Security Cooperation programs and activities, to include: assessment, planning, related education and training, and advisor support to ensure unity of effort in building Partner Nation Security Forces capacity and capability in order to facilitate USMC and regional Marine Forces component support to combatant commanders security cooperation objectives.