Strategic partnership ensures security in Pacific region

| June 22, 2012 | 0 Comments
Staff Sgt. Christopher Camaioni (left), infantryman, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, gives guidance to soldiers of the 7th RAR as they provide suppressive fire on enemy targets during their live-fire exercise at PTA, June 6.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Camaioni (left), infantryman, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, gives guidance to soldiers of the 7th RAR as they provide suppressive fire on enemy targets during their live-fire exercise at PTA, June 6.

Story and Photo by
Sgt. Daniel Johnson
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and the 7th Royal Australian Regiment, deployed for a monthlong combined training exercise as part of the Theater Security Cooperation Program, here, May 10.

Soldiers from both militaries executed multiple missions including squad- and platoon-based live-fire exercises, as well as training on infantry tactics and communication in a combined environment.

“Throughout the exercise, we’ve been conducting squad-size tactical scenarios,” said Cpl. Jareth Merriman, squad leader, 7th RAR. “This includes movement with mounted assets and maneuver support teams.”

“Training opportunities such as this are very eye-opening for a lot of our troops,” said Lt. Ben Carbis, platoon commander, 7th RAR. “The training and resources available to us here have helped us improve tenfold.”

Combined exercises, such as this, present an unique opportunity for Soldiers to interact with allied militaries in the Pacific region, as well as new challenges and learning opportunities for those on both sides.

“Partnering with the Australians had some unforeseen benefits,” said Capt. John Staeheli, commander, Company A, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt. “Motivation goes up and (Soldiers) learn more, because not only are they practicing, but they are teaching their Australian counterparts and learning how the Australians do things.”

“Working together, we have identified the differences between standard operating procedures … (and) were able to utilize each others’ capabilities to plug any gaps,” Carbis said.

“I’m very comfortable with the partnership that USARPAC and the 25th Infantry Division has taken on by asking us to execute the Theater Security Cooperation Program,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Larsen, commander, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt.

Training at PTA has allowed both militaries to expand their capabilities in movement and deployment operations while strengthening interoperability between the two Pacific partners.

“The complex terrain is a lot different than what we’ve experienced in Australia,” Carbis said. “It’s been an interesting experience — everything from planning to terrain analysis — and has opened up excellent training opportunities.”

“We can develop a lasting partnership over time,” Staeheli said. “The hardship conditions experienced while working with each other in simulated combat scenarios brings Soldiers together and creates a much tighter partnership at the Soldier and leader levels.”

A strong partnership with allies in the Pacific is critical to continued security operations in the region. Training such as this allows the forces of each military to develop lasting relationships that will in turn make deployment operations more successful.

“Interoperability is incredibly critical,” Larsen said. “Even though our infantry tactics are similar, they are equally dissimilar. We need to be able to understand how they fight, as they need to understand how we fight. We’ve been able to educate the leaders in both militaries on how we operate.”

“The Americans have a lot of experience throughout the ranks, and working with (them) is becoming a piece of cake,” Merriman said.

“When we leave PTA, we won’t see this as the end; this is the beginning. We will take what we’ve done here, and we’re going to continue to get better,” Staeheli said.

“I’m extremely proud of the way the Soldiers have handled themselves,” Larsen said. “The flexibility and initiative they’ve shown … to be able to get the most out of the training that they are given … is outstanding.”

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Category: News, Training, U.S. Army Garrison-Pohakuloa (USAG-Pohakuloa)

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