CAMP PENDLETON, CA, –
U.S. Marines with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, and members of the 2nd Intai Amfibi Battalion, Indonesian Korps Marinir, participated in an annual reconnaissance exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, April 8-20, 2023.
Together, reconnaissance Marines and members of Indonesia’s KORMAR spent 12 days training and rehearsing across Camp Pendleton for a culminating event April 18-19. The training included back-to-back days of flying the RQ-20 Puma, live-fire ranges, urban combat training, swim qualification, operational planning, and combat rubber raiding craft operations.
On the first day of the exercise, the Marines began familiarizing the KORMAR with the RQ-20 Puma, which is a small, unmanned and hand-launched aircraft system. Here, the KORMAR learned about the drone’s extensive capabilities, including how to control the drone, operate the camera, and practiced hand launching.
“Day 1 was used to familiarize the KORMAR on our tactics, techniques and procedures while flying the Puma,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. John Ferguson, a platoon commander with Charlie Company, 1st Recon. Bn. “Ultimately preparing for the use of it during the full mission profile; the amphibious recon patrol.”
Over the next few days, the KORMAR were issued standard Marine Corps equipment; to include sleeping systems, main packs, and waterproofing gear that would sustain them in overnight field environments. They were also issued the M4 carbines they would use at live-fire ranges.
The live-fire portion of the exercise allowed the Marines to share some of their tactics and techniques on stationary targets, both daytime and nighttime, and room clearing in urban combat training.
“I found the training very helpful,” added Ferguson. “We were able to share some of our standard operating procedures with the KORMAR and we also learned a lot from them in terms of the way they do things at the small unit level.”
Following the live-fire ranges, the KORMAR members completed intermediate swim qualification at the pool. The qualification test required each person to pass a 10-foot platform jump into the water, immediately into a 250-meter swim, an underwater gear shed, and a 10-minute above-surface float.
“We had to do the intermediate swim qual because it is required in order to drive the combat rubber raiding craft,” said Ferguson. “They all passed flawlessly.”
The Marines and KORMAR spent the final two training days rehearsing for the culminating event and going over emergency procedures on the CRRCs at Del Mar Boat Basin.
“Our training in the boat basin was focused on emergency procedures in the event we have a man overboard or an engine down,” explained Ferguson. “We also practiced coastal piloting, which is navigating in the open water and surf passages.”
The culminating event for the exercise was an amphibious insert onto White Beach. The Marines and KORMAR started by loading onto CRRCs at Del Mar Boat Basin and making their way to White Beach. Upon arrival, they sat just behind the surf where they launched the Puma in order to survey the planned area of insertion. Once the landing point was established via aerial surveillance, Marines and KORMAR entered the surf zone and took the CRRCs onto the beach. Quickly, they disembarked and immediately postured themselves for 360-degree security until they deemed the beach was safe.
“In order to bring together all of our collective skills between the U.S. Marines and the KORMAR, we wanted to conduct and amphibious insert and give them a chance to conduct reconnaissance together,” said Ferguson. “I think the amphibious landing went really well. It was exactly as we rehearsed and everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
To close out the culminating event, Marines and KORMAR conducted a foot patrol overnight to an objective where they extracted via a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter and returned to Del Mar Boat Basin.
“The annual exercise benefits the Marine Corps overall by building the relationship with the KORMAR,” concluded Ferguson. “Looking at a free and open Indo-Pacific area, they are a key partner that we want to continue to have a relationship with.”