Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
As decades-long partners, the United States and the Netherlands have maintained relations through thick and thin, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Both countries have been quick to adapt their military training procedures to uphold COVID-19 guidelines, while maintaining a high level of mission readiness and combat effectiveness. In March 2021, 2d Reconnaissance (Recon) Battalion, 2d Marine Division, hosted the 32nd Raiding Squadron (RSQN) for Exercise Caribbean Urban Warrior.
To prepare for operations in urban terrain and increase interoperability between the Dutch and 2d Recon, Exercise Caribbean Urban Warrior utilized Camp Lejeune’s expansive training areas, advanced facilities, and assets available under the II Marine Expeditionary Force.
With these assets, the units were able to refine a myriad of skills. On a sniper range, teams tested their skills with long-range weapons at known and unknown distance targets. In an Infantry Immersion Trainer and the several Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT) facilities on base, squad to company-level teams rehearsed clearing and securing areas, taking notional enemy contact, and treating and evacuating notional casualties.
In the final stage of the exercise, 2d Recon conducted high altitude, low opening parachute inserts with CH-53E Super Stallions helicopters to infiltrate objectives for reconnaissance and surveillance operations. With the information from 2d Recon, the Dutch were able to maneuver efficiently through the woods and swamps of Lejeune to conduct raids and deliberate attacks on the objective.
“This all simulates the environments our unit has to work in,” said Netherlands Marine Corps Cpl. Marvin Sahetapy, a deputy section commander with the 32nd RSQN. “From the foot patrols to dominating the information environment, and urban warfare operations. Enablers, like close air support are not available for us in Aruba.”
From the Netherlands Marine Corps base in Savaneta, Aruba, the 32nd RSQN protects the Dutch Antilles, conducts counter illicit trafficking operations, supports local authorities, and provides humanitarian aid when needed.
“The 32nd RSQN has different taskings than full-kinetic squadrons back in the Netherlands,” said Netherlands Marine Corps Capt. Mark Brouwer, a foreign exchange officer with 2d Recon. “We support humanitarian efforts in the Dutch Kingdom every year during hurricane season. At the drop of a hat, we must be ready to face looters and criminals.”
As the exercise came to a close, plans for 2d Recon to travel to Aruba in the coming months were already being finalized. In Aruba, the units will work together again, but in open-water and dive training for Exercise Coastal Caribbean Warrior.
“Both exercises serve as a way to exchange knowledge, TTPs [tactics, techniques, and procedures], and increase cooperation between both units,” said Brouwer.
Both Exercise Caribbean Urban Warrior and Coastal Caribbean Warrior intertwine the units to increase interoperability and lethality in diverse environments. The training fulfills their goals of safety, mission readiness, increased proficiency in several categories, and a heightened ability to switch from non-kinetic to kinetic operations.
“We train, shoulder to shoulder, with several assets under the II Marine Expeditionary Force, bringing us closer and stronger every iteration,” said Brouwer.
Working together, both units enhanced the skillset needed to deploy across the globe to defeat tomorrow’s enemies.