CAMP SUFFISANT, Curacao -- As the nation's force in readiness, Marines must be prepared for combat in every climate. A combination of jungle terrain, mountains and the ocean makes the location of Royal Netherlands Marine Corps Base Camp Suffisant, on the island of Curacao, an optimal place to conduct amphibious operations training alongside Dutch marines.
On Oct. 22, 2010, the Marines and Sailors from Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, traveled to Curacao to begin their training evolution which revolved around amphibious operations. One of the exercises conducted in the first week of training was the Dutch marines' water obstacle course.
"When we come to Curacao, we are very heavily focused on our amphibious standard operating procedures," said Staff Sgt. Ryan J. Kuperus, a team leader for 2nd Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company. "By coming to Curacao, the Marines get the opportunity to train in an environment where we can put all of the pieces together and go straight from a dive insert, or a scout swimmer insert, into a full week-long mission while working alongside members of a foreign military. That's the importance of coming down here."
Force Reconnaissance Company makes the trip to Curacao twice a year. Typically the platoons alternate, but 2nd Platoon has had the opportunity to come both times this year which will help prepare them for their upcoming deployment to with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.
"Coming to Curacao twice is going to benefit [the Marines] a lot for the MEU specifically," said Kuperus. "We've already developed our standard operating procedures for our scout swimmer and dive operations and now we're refining them."
Curacao is one of three islands of the Netherlands Antilles in the Southern Caribbean. Curacao has a semi-arid climate with a dry season between January and September and a rainy season between October and December. The location and weather make it ideal for a variety of training exercises.
"Curacao provides a robust training area where we can work on the full spectrum of our skill set," said Sgt. Josh D. Kovar, a team leader for 2nd Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company. "The terrain is advantageous for patrolling, small unit operations, and practicing insertion and extraction."
So far, the Marines have participated in underwater training, a detachment hike and the Dutch water obstacle course. These events have taken place throughout the island and serve as preliminary exercises for the events ahead.
The scheduled events will include a week-long exercise that attempts to challenge the Marines to learn as much about the terrain as they can.
"It's important to train in other places to get a more diverse look at other areas," said Kuperus. "When we do off-sight training, we get the look of different parts of the world. Down here in the tropics, the terrain is a lot different than the temperate coastal region around North Carolina or the dessert at [Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms]. By visiting different training sights we become well-rounded in different terrains."