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Belize Defense Force Provides Crash Course In Jungle Warfare To U.S. Marines

Por Dialogo
abril 20, 2010

Marines and Sailors of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment received introductory training in jungle warfare tactics and survival from the Belize Defense Force Apr. 14 during Tradewinds 2010. Tradewinds ‘10, is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs directed, U.S. Southern Command sponsored annual exercise designed to improve cooperation with 15 Caribbean Basin partner nations in responding to regional security threats. The Marines and two Sailors who are corpsmen, had no prior training in any other type of warfare training other than desert operations and military operations on urban terrain. For the first week of the exercise the 30 student Marines and sailors of Co. F are dedicating most of their time to the classroom. But on Apr. 16 the Marines will begin a week in the jungle along the Guatemalan border to put their classroom training to the test; hacking their way with Machetes through Belizean shrub and adapting to mother nature’s pests including dangerous insects, venomous snakes, and other natural obstacles. The Marines will be in full proper protective equipment and sporting a pack weighing up to 40 lbs., full of essential supplies, food, and water. The students who are training under the close supervision of BDF Staff Sgt. Rady Puc, a jungle warfare instructor with training company, has over 15 years experience in giving students under him the necessary knowledge in jungle operations and survival. “In the Belizean Army, our initial course for jungle tactics is six weeks long,” said Puc. “[This] is a shorter version of the course, and we are covering just as much.” Outside of classroom instruction, the students observed as BDF soldiers conducted patrols and engaged mock enemy forces in nearby, thick vegetation similar to the jungle environment the Marines will face later this week. The Marines then mimicked the BDF soldiers and conducted their own mock patrols and dummy enemy contact, with adjustments from Puc and other Belizean soldiers in between. “Different countries armies do different things to prepare for the jungle,” explained Puc. The Marines I trained before adjusted very quickly once they actually got out there.” Puc, who has trained another Marine unit in the past, added it typically takes years for Belizean soldiers to master the appropriate skills needed to survive in a jungle environment all while keeping a combat mindset and maintaining vigilance of the enemy. “A week in the jungle is a piece of cake for a Belizean soldier,” said Puc. “The Marines will struggle at first, but jungle warfare isn’t easily learned by anybody.” The Marines ranging from private first class to sergeant, some who have served combat tours in Iraq and others who are just a few weeks out of the Marine school of infantry, bring different levels of experience to the training. “This jungle warfare training is good, well-rounded training,” said Lance Cpl. Robert Fishbourne, a machine gunner with Co. F, 2/23, weapons platoon, who already completed one tour in Iraq. “It’s definitely different from other training we have received, but these guys (Belizean soldiers) are really good so it’s another beneficial weapon to add to our unit’s arsenal.” The week long classroom preparation will end April 15. Some Marines are going into the jungle confident, while others are more worried about the simpler things the jungle has to offer. “I’ll do fine,” said Fishbourne. “I’m more worried about waking up next to a snake or with some kind of critter crawling on me.”