MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines from Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Norfolk Naval Station, Va., traveled to Skopje, Macedonia, June 13, 2010, to familiarize the Army of the Republic of Macedonia with Marine warfighting tactics.
During the five day trip, Capts. Owen M. Boyce and Sung G. Kim held classes about small unit leadership tactics, techniques, and procedures for light infantry and mechanized units in urban operations training. This included lessons learned from combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Specifically, we went over urban patrolling, counter sniper operations, and how to handle indirect fire in an urban environment,” said Boyce, commanding officer of Headquarters Company, MCSF Regiment. “I thought it was a great opportunity to go over and interact with people who are supporting us in the War on Terrorism.”
Macedonian troops began working alongside American and NATO military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003.
“I think we basically showed them not what to do, but why we do what we do,” said Kim, the executive officer of Training Co., MCSF Regiment. “I think a lot of times they were able to mimic what the Marines and soldiers were doing in combat. Hopefully we made them understand why they were mimicking it and helped them establish an understanding of the importance of small unit leadership by allowing their NCOs to make sound decisions when it comes to tactical decisions.”
When the classes were over at the end of each day, Macedonian troops were given the opportunity to ask Boyce and Kim questions regarding their deployment experiences.
“They asked a lot of great questions,” Boyce said. “The questions were mostly specific to [tactics, techniques and procedures] and clarification on how we would conduct ourselves in certain situations while deployed.”
Both Boyce and Kim were highly impressed with the professionalism of the Macedonian troops and their eagerness to learn.
“The Macedonians trace their warrior heritage back to Alexander the Great, who was from Macedonia,” Boyce explained. “They’re definitely proud of that fact and want to continue their history of being warriors.”
Both the Marines and Macedonians hope to continue training together to improve U.S. and Macedonian interoperability in the future.
“I think it’s important to continue doing these types of training, because once you get to Afghanistan, you can find yourself working very closely with Coalition forces. Doing training like this helps develop a good relationship with them,” Kim said. “It was a really good time over there. Boyce and I got a lot out of the cultural exchange, which makes us more well-rounded people and Marines.”