U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment (1/2), 2nd Marine Division (MARDIV) accepted an invitation from The Commandant of the Netherlands Marine Corps to participate in a unique training experience in the Surinamese jungles in Northern South America. The Suriname Army hosted an eight-week jungle training course between March 27 and May 16, 2023. Four Marines participated in the training courses called the Jungle Movement and Survival Course and the Jungle Warfare Instructor Course.
U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Jacob Kanak, a Tomahawk, Wisconsin native and infantry officer with 1/2, 2d MARDIV, was the officer in charge of the Marine detachment while attending the training.
“Prior to the training, I was extremely excited to go to a new domain and environment and learn how to fight and win in the jungle,” said Kanak. “It was tough, realistic training and extremely valuable to experience what it takes not only to operate in the jungle but to lead a combat unit in a difficult environment.”
The training started with the Jungle Movement and Survival Course, which took place between March 27 and April 10. This two-week course was used to teach and evaluate land navigation skills, survival exercises, classroom instruction, and how to use baseline gear in jungle terrains effectively. The latter portion of the training consisted of the Jungle Warfare Instructor Course from April 10 to May 16. This course taught service members to become jungle warfare instructors and gave them the tools to conduct their jungle training and teach jungle warfare tactics and procedures. The participants of this course included a company of Dutch Royal Marines, a platoon from the Dutch Army Air Assault, a detachment from the Suriname Army, and four U.S. Marines.
Although U.S. Marine participation in the Suriname jungle training is unique, joint training between the U.S. and Dutch Marines is not. The U.S. and Dutch Marine Corps participate in multiple annual training exercises to improve interoperability between themselves.
“Being able to develop a plan and brief it to a group that does not speak English as their first language and see it come to fruition was an awesome experience and a testament to the ability of NATOs partners to work together,” said Kanak.
The Jungle Movement and Survival Course and the Jungle Warfare Instructor Course provided challenging, realistic training that strengthened the bond between the U.S. Marines and the Dutch military, reinforcing the Marine Corps ideal of “any clime and place."