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NEWS | Sept. 12, 2023

Pacific Marines, French Armed Forces Train in Tahiti

By Capt. Miraquel Ridenhour, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

Pacific Marines with Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and members of the Marine Infantry Regiment, French Armed Forces, conducted tactical-level, bilateral training, Aug. 27 – Sep. 9, 2023.

French Marines led Pacific Marines through multiple classes and training events, covering a range of topics including: weapons introduction and handling of the Fusil D’Assaut de la Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Etienne (FAMAS) and the Fabrique Nationale d’Armes Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (FN SCAR-H), multiple physical events such as a nautical course and obstacle course, close quarters combat instruction, and Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain tactics.

“Training with our French partners in an unfamiliar location is an invaluable opportunity,” said Capt. Tyler J. Ashton, company commander, HQSVCBN, MARFORPAC. “Learning from them and executing difficult training together has strengthened our already strong ties, and we all look forward to continuing this relationship with future engagement opportunities.”

“I am very glad to have U.S. Marines here in Tahiti and during this exercise,” said Capt. Xavier Viale, French liaison, Marine Infantry Regiment in French Polynesia, French Armed Forces.

Over the course of their time in Tahiti, Pacific Marines had the chance to put all of their instruction and training into practice during several practical application events. After their instruction on the FAMAS, they conducted a live-fire training event to get hands-on experience of the effects of the weapon system. Additionally, every Marine conducted a full run-through of the nautical course and even raced for the best time to complete the obstacle course.

“I am very glad to have U.S. Marines here in Tahiti and during this exercise,” said French Army Capt. Xavier Viale, French liaison, Marine Infantry Regiment in French Polynesia, French Armed Forces. “It was a good opportunity for all of us to learn how to work together and our different behaviors.”

Pacific Marines conducted training with all three companies of the Marine Infantry Regiment, which allowed them to understand the multiple components of the French Armed Forces’ military organization in French Polynesia. The two weeks of instruction afforded which Pacific Marines the opportunity to become familiar with their equipment, learn their tactics, and integrate with them in various tactical scenarios.

“Even with a language barrier, they always kept us involved and were excited to work with us,” said Cpl. Alan Reyes, financial management resource analyst, HQSVCBN, MARFORPAC. “It was interesting to see how their tactics differ from ours.”

The training coincided with the French Armed Forces’ annual commemoration of Bazeilles Day in Tahiti. Members from both militaries came together to compete in an all-day field meet followed by an evening ceremony to remember the courage and sacrifice of the French defenders of the village of Bazeilles in 1870. This is the second consecutive year Pacific Marines have been present at the ceremony, underscoring the strong relationship between the two NATO Allies.

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific is the largest operational command in the Marine Corps, and the Nation’s expeditionary force-in-readiness in the Indo-Pacific. Pacific Marines serve alongside the joint force and like-minded Allies and partners to preserve and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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