Brunei Land Force, US Marines commemorate end of CARAT 2014 with celebration
PENANJONG GARRISON, TUTONG, Brunei -- Royal Brunei Land Force service members and U.S. Marines celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday together Nov. 14 at the end of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2014 at Penanjong Garrison.
The celebration marked the end of the exercise that increased interoperability between the two nations, while building personal and professional relationships between the service members.
“I think this exercise benefitted the Marines by giving them a better grasp on the concept of starting from the basics every time they enter an environment they may believe they are comfortable in,” said U.S. Marine 1st Sgt. Jorge A. Guerrero, the first sergeant for Company E, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. “Training alongside a foreign unit (helps us improve our capabilities by learning other practices).”
Over the course of the week-long exercise the RBLF service members and Marines from 2nd Bn., 9th Marines, currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program, worked together sharing knowledge and techniques. Marines lead training on fighting in urban combat. Service members from the RBLF showed the Marines what they know about jungle environments. Marines learned how to properly camouflage with their surroundings in the jungle. While training in Brunei, the Marines experienced the rigor of patrolling through the jungle, different kinds of survival shelters, food that can be found in the jungle, and different kinds of animal traps and how they function.
“This exercise greatly enhanced the bilateral interoperability between the Brunei and U.S.,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Daniel J. Wendolowski, the commanding officer for the company. “Training together, eating together, all of the time spent together overall, and just working with a foreign nation was a great experience for the Marines and the RBLF service members.”
Exercise CARAT 2014 is a nine-country exercise between U.S., Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
Upon conclusion of the exercise, RBLF service members and U.S. Marines held a social gathering and a U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Ball cake-cutting ceremony. The celebration included the reading of U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. John A. Lejuene’s birthday message, viewing of the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ birthday message, singing of the Marine’s Hymn, and passing of cake from the oldest Marine present to the youngest Marine present.
“Throughout the week, we gained a lot of experience from the U.S. Marines,” said RBLF Private Alif Diris, a rifleman with 1st Battalion, RBLF. “This has been a very good experience for us, and I am looking forward to working with the U.S. Marines in the future.”