EDINBURGH, United Kingdom --
More than 30 U.S. Marines partnered with British soldiers to
conduct a three-mile conditioning hike and shooting competition, Oct. 30, 2015.
The services are currently executing Exercise Phoenix
Odyssey II, which is designed to enhance intelligence operations between the
two countries. During the two-week evolution, the forces were also given the
opportunity to improve interoperability in a field environment.
Prior to beginning the hike, the Marines and soldiers were split
into 5 groups and tasked with finding various checkpoints along a prescribed
route. Each team member also took turns trekking a 50-pound pack along with
their individual equipment through the course.
“Before we started, we came up with a plan to carry our gear
in the most efficient manner,” said Marine Sgt. Christopher Robinson, an
imagery analysis specialist with 2nd Intelligence Battalion. “Once we missed a
couple of checkpoints, the British took over because they know the terrain
better. They were able to help us out, while we were able to help them in
carrying the gear and getting across the line as a group.”
According to the service members, mindset also played a
significant role in navigating successfully.
“I think the biggest thing to take from it is we had the
same sort of mentality in terms of burden sharing, encouraging each other and
trying to get to the end altogether as quickly as we could,” said British Army
Cpl. William Gledhill, an intelligence analyst participating in the exercise.
Immediately following the hike, the groups shifted into
shooting a 25-meter range, competing amongst one another for the best shot,
while also further instilling a combat-ready approach to the training.
“Every Marine is a rifleman. So every Marine in an
expeditious manner has to be able to move out whenever called on,” said
Exercise Phoenix Odyssey’s main role is to establish a clear
set of tactics, training and procedures for intelligence specialists using a
notional situation replicating possible real-world contingencies. Incorporating
basic weapons skills and physical training helps make the service members more
well-rounded moving forward.
“It’s important to see how we work together on the
[military] skills, because during deployments in the future, that’s exactly
what we’ll be doing together,” said Gledhill.
“The military skills training helps build mental and
physical toughness for Marines, which is key to any operating environment,”
said Robinson. “As Marines, we always have to have mental toughness.”