Photo Information

U.S. Marines with 2nd Intelligence Battalion and British soldiers search for a checkpoint during Exercise Phoenix Odyssey II near Edinburgh, U.K., Oct. 30, 2015. The service members executed a three-mile conditioning hike and shooting competition as part of the exercise, which is designed to enhance joint intelligence operations. (U.S. Marines Corps photo by Cpl. Lucas Hopkins/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Lucas Hopkins

U.S. Marines, British Army team up for military skills exercise

5 Nov 2015 | Cpl. Lucas Hopkins II Marine Expeditionary Force

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 Robinson.

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.”