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Capt. Patrick Forrest, with Supporting Arms Liaison Team, 2nd Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, teaches a class to soldiers with the 32nd Georgian Infantry Battalion during a training exercise in Hohenfels, Germany. The month long training exercise was aimed at establishing familiarity between the two units, which will be working together during their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

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Marines foster trust, familiarity with Georgian military

17 Sep 2010 | Lance Cpl. James W. Clark

Marines with 2nd Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Company traveled to Hohenfels, Germany, where they trained with the 32nd Georgian Infantry Battalion throughout the month of August. The training exercise served to prepare the Marines and members of the Georgian military for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

During their tour, the Marines of 2nd ANGLICO will provide communication and direction for coalition aircraft in support of the 32nd Georgian Infantry Battalion.

The significance of the training lies in the fact that the Marines and their Georgian counterparts will be performing combat operations similar to those executed during the exercise, explained Capt. Patrick Forrest, the leader of Supporting Arms Liaison Team, 2nd ANGLICO.

“My team is going to be in direct support of the Thirty-Second Battalion,” said Forrest. “We will be providing air support and aviation assets, and will be the ones to coordinate getting those assets on station.”

In Afghanistan, the Marines will be calling in air support, ranging from medical evacuations to fixed and rotary wing air-support, for the 32nd Infantry Bn., and will also help to control indirect fire, such as mortars and artillery, Forrest added.

During the training, each party shared and received information, familiarizing one another with their respective unit structure, tactics and procedures.

“This is the perfect mission for us, because they don’t have any joint terminal attack controllers or air controllers,” said Forrest, referring to personnel who serve as the go-between for pilots and combat troops on the ground. “They rely on us for that. The biggest take away from this training for myself and my Marines is getting comfortable working with this unit now, vice meeting them in theater.”

The Marines spent nearly a month working with their Georgian counterparts and were able to identify hurdles and obstacles early on, which will give both forces time to prepare for them prior to their deployment.

“There are still some obstacles to go around, such as the language barrier,” said Cpl. Troy Franz, a forward observer with SALT, 2nd ANGLICO. “When we got down to the nitty gritty, we knew what we were doing. Overall, I have full faith that we will be able to complete our mission with them. From what I see, they do get the job done and know exactly what they’re doing.”