CAMP SUFFISANT, Curacao -- On Nov. 10, 2010, the international competition Tri Deux Colours began in the country of Aruba.
French and Dutch soldiers, Royal Netherlands Marines and United States Marines from Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in the competition that lasted four days.
The first day of the competition included a series of tests and briefs in order to make sure that all of the competitors were capable of continuing the competition.
Force Reconnaissance Marines were tested on their swimming abilities, knowledge of rappelling gear, and their ability to properly row and maneuver in a boat.
“This is just familiarization for the competition,” said Gunnery Sgt. Kevin T. Dale, platoon sergeant of 2nd Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Co. “Unlike [Force Reconnaissance Marines], some of the teams competing have never done this sort of thing before, especially the Dutch Army tankers from Curacao. They don’t train regularly for amphibious operations.”
The second day of the competition was held off-base in Aruba. The first event that Marines competed in was stalking. Stalking is when the Marines use camouflage and subtle movements to slowly approach enemies without being noticed.
The following events were combined into the skills and drills portion of the competition: observation, recognizing military objects, tying knots, land navigation, range estimation and throwing grenades.
“The skills and drills portion of the competition tests the abilities of competitors in what we call soldiery,” said Royal Netherlands Marine Sgt. Peter Rietveld, a physical training instructor with the 32nd Infantry Company stationed in Curacao. “These events are not as physically challenging as they are mentally challenging. The next two days will be much more difficult physically.”
After the daily events, Force Reconnaissance Marines traveled to the starting point of day two’s obstacle course and prepared for the rest of the competition.
“I feel really good about our efforts so far,” said Dale. “Obviously the Royal Netherlands Marines have a bit of an advantage, because they train on the competition’s obstacle courses regularly. I think we’re going to pull through and win, but overall we have to remember that it’s just friendly competition.”