Brazilian, U.S. Marines Perform Training Exercise “Operation Formosa”

Brazilian, U.S. Marines Perform Training Exercise “Operation Formosa”

By Dialogo
November 18, 2015

This operation makes me very proud. Marine Corps!

About 2,000 members of Brazil's Marine Force Squadron participated in its largest annual training exercise, Operation Formosa, along with seven U.S. Marines at a Brazilian Army camp 75 kilometers from Brasília between September 15 - October 13.

“The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) enjoys a very strong relationship with the Brazilian Marine Corps (CFN, for its Portuguese acronym),” explained Captain Thayne Stiefvater from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South (MARFORSOUTH). “Our primary goals in participating in Operation Formosa are to continue to build our service bonds and strengthen our ability to conduct combined operations in humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, peacekeeping, and other environments. Our goals for this year included building our interoperability for combined expeditionary medical response, aviation planning, and aviation command and control.”

The training mission, which Brazil created in 2008 and which has included the U.S. since 2013, helps keep the CFN at a high level of readiness for missions in Brazil and abroad. The document outlining Brazil's defense policy, known as the “National Defense Strategy,” describes the CFN as an expeditionary force par excellence

“The Operation Formosa training satisfactorily addressed all of the goals set by the control group,” said Marine Lieutenant General Alexandre José Barreto de Mattos, the Brazilian Marines' Chief of Personnel.

Operation Formosa -- which has trained about 16,000 Brazilian service members since its inception -- included four Argentine service members and five Namibian Troops this year, who shared their experiences in the areas of logistics and infantry command. Meanwhile, four of the seven participating U.S. Marines are from the U.S. Navy, two from MARFORSOUTH, and one from the USMC. The Marines from the Navy and USMC participated in every phase of the training, while the MARFORSOUTH Marines engaged in just one session.

Four stages of training

After Troops transported the necessary equipment, vehicles, weapons, and munitions 1,600 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro to the Formosa Instruction Camp on September 15, the first phase of training, which was primarily logistical in nature, started on September 30. During the second stage, which ran from October 1-4, Marines engaged in drills such as shooting practice and parachuting. Personnel from the U.S. Navy and USMC conducted an expeditionary medicine exchange, sharing lessons and best practices in combat casualty care and mass casualty situations.

In the next phase of the training, which began on October 7, service personnel demonstrated the training for the media. During the final phase from October 10-13, participants engaged in a simulated sea-to-land mission known as “Head-of-the-Beach,” where they used an array of equipment, from vehicles to weapons to aircraft, to take control of a piece of land that was 12 kilometers deep and eight kilometers long.

“Participants boarded ships belonging to the Brazilian Navy, traveled to the beach, and managed to conquer quite a wide area, which gave other Troops the ability to disembark in larger numbers and continue the mission,” Lt. Gen. de Mattos said of the successful training session, which was completed without injury.

Weaponry tests

Service members tested numerous weapons during Operation Formosa, including the Remax, a remote-controlled weapons platform that can accommodate different caliber machine guns, including 7.62 mm and .50 mm, and is mounted on Piranha armored vehicles. The platform, which is equipped with night vision, was engineered by the Brazilian Army in partnership with the Brazilian company Ares and was tested for the first time by the Brazilian Marine Corps.

“The Remax proved to be very useful for our purposes,” Lt. Gen. de Mattos said.

The Astros 2020 multiple rocket launcher, which can fire 190 rockets in 16 seconds with high accuracy, was tested for the first time in simulated combat. Service members also used modernized versions of M-113 armored vehicles, which feature a dynamic steering system and other improvements.

“This year, all our equipment performed at an acceptable level, which means that they are aligned with our needs,” Lt. Gen. de Mattos added.

Military officials chose the Army-owned Formosa Instruction Camp, which has hosted the training since 2013, because its combination of space and security is ideal for using the Brazilian Marine Corps’ live weaponry, according to the Lieutenant General.

“In addition, the space also allows us to simulate actual amphibious operations, despite being held near Brasília, [which is landlocked].”