Marines deploy to New Caledonia
CAMP SCHWAB, Okinawa, Japan -- Approximately 90 Marines deployed Oct. 11 for Exercise Croix du Sud 2012, which takes place in New Caledonia.
Croix du Sud, which means "southern cross" in French, is a multilateral exercise hosted by the French armed forces in New Caledonia and will involve two U.S. Marine Corps platoons with III Marine Expeditionary Force, members of the FANC, and a company with the Australian Defence Force.
Other nations with varying levels of involvement in Croix du Sud 2012 include the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Kingdom of Tonga. Japan will be observing the exercise.
The Marines are with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF, under the unit deployment program, and 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III MEF Headquarters Group, III MEF.
"The purpose of this training is to build interoperability, enhance regional stability, and increase the readiness of U.S., allied and partner militaries to respond to the full spectrum of crises and contingencies," said 1st Lt. Forrest L. Martin, a platoon commander with 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines.
The Marines will train with small-arms and machine guns while deployed, according to Sgt. Guillermo L. Fargus, a platoon sergeant with 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines.
In addition to the weapons training, the militaries will execute helicopter-borne operations.
"We will also be conducting humanitarian and disaster relief and noncombatant evacuation operations (training) via helicopter, partnering with the foreign militaries," said Fargus.
The Marines will work with the French service members and practice squad and platoon operations and hope to improve their continuously evolving small-unit tactics.
"I look forward to working with the different countries, (both) learning and teaching," said Lance Cpl. David C. Poynter, a radio operator with 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines. "I hope to pass on my knowledge to the other militaries as well as gain knowledge of what they are doing."
Fargus expects his Marines to uphold the high reputation of the Marine Corps during the training exercise.
"I expect my Marines to perform like we have been throughout our whole deployment," said Fargus. "They have done a great job, and they will continue to do the same in New Caledonia."