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22nd MEU Marines Train With African Soldiers
A Djiboutian soldier tosses his U.S. Marine martial arts instructor, Lance Cpl. Ricky Watson, during training as a part of Exercise Image Nautilus 06. The Marines participated in the bi-lateral training this past week in the east African country of Djibouti.
By Cpl. Christopher S. Vega
DJIBOUTI, Africa, April 7, 2006 -- Marines and sailors of Battalion Landing Team, 1st Bn., 2nd Marines, (BLT 1/2) the ground combat element for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) conducted Exercise Image Nautilus in the African nation of Djibouti with members of the Djiboutian Army March 23-31, 2006.
The exercise was aimed at improving both Charlie Co., BLT 1/2, and the Djiboutian Army, by allowing them to trade valuable tactics they have learned over the years.
"This exercise is beneficial to both parties, because there is a lot we can learn from each other," said Lance Cpl. Ricky Watson, of Tampa, Fla., a machine gunner with Charlie Co. "They are able to teach us more about patrolling in an open desert and we can teach them some [Marine Corps Martial Arts].
Watson and Cpl. Andrew Weaver, both green belt instructors, taught Djiboutian soldiers various Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) techniques, such as hip tosses and wristlocks.
Marines with Charlie Co. also set up classes in vehicle checkpoints and personnel searches.
"I enjoy training with this military," said Lance Cpl. Marquis Lawson, of Newark, N.J., a mortar man with Charlie Co. "They are really enthused to learn from us and that makes it more educational and fun."
In addition to classes taught by the Marines, members of the Djiboutian Army conducted patrols with Charlie Co. to help improve their desert tactics.
"A lot of our pre-deployment training is done in urban areas, but as we've learned during this deployment not everywhere we conduct operations is going to be a rural area," said Staff Sgt. Eric Browning. "It just goes to show that you can always learn something."
In addition to BLT 1/2, the 22nd MEU (SOC) consists of its Command Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced) and MEU Service Support Group 22. The MEU is currently deployed as part of the Nassau Strike Group.
For more information on the 22nd MEU, visit the unit's web site at http://www.22meu.usmc.mil .
Source: Henderson Hall News