Czech officers view II MEF capabilities

20 Apr 2005 | Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre

The Czech Republic, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since 1999, has been a strong ally of the United States. Within the last 10 years, its armed forces have participated in supporting allied military operations with specialized troops in missions to Afghanistan, the Balkans, Iraq and Kuwait. This relationship with the U.S. military was reaffirmed when top commissioned officers of the Czech military, visiting their American counterparts in the U.S., got a chance to view various capabilities of the U.S. Marine Corps’ II Marine Expeditionary Force April 19-20.

Among the visiting dignitaries was the top military officer for the Czech Republic’s military, Lt. Gen. Pavel Stefka, chief of general staff of the armed forces. The delegation of high-ranking Czech officers were given a tour of some of the facilities and capabilities of the Marines based here by commanding general for II MEF, Lt. Gen. James Amos.

“We’ve had a lot of good briefings,” said Stefka of the nature of his military trip to the United States and to Camp Lejeune. “This is one part of our program in our visit to the United States.”

The Czech officers were shown the Marine Scout Sniper Course, small unit training and non-commissioned officer development at the School of Infantry. They also viewed an assortment of small arms weaponry used by Marines and were briefed on the capabilities of the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer. There, the officers got the opportunity to fire off simulated .50 caliber machine guns, M-203 and MK-19 grenade launchers.

“The Indoor Simulation Marksmanship Training facility is used to enhance all weapons instruction from the M-9 pistol to heavy-machine training,” said Master Sgt. Darwin Corbel, operations chief, assigned to Marine Combat Training Battalion. “Our facility supports the training of entry level students at the school of infantry and also from units assigned to the operating forces. On several occasions we show our capabilities to visiting dignitaries and nationally-known celebrities as well.”

Near the end of the visit, the officers got a view of the V-22 Osprey, the vertical take off and landing transport aircraft used to rapidly deploy Marines to the battlefield.

“We were very pleased to see the training of the Marine Corps,” said the Czech chief of general staff. “We have a very similar approach to training and we would like to have military exchanges of units in the future.”