RHLI Exercises
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National Defence and the Canadian Forces

Joint Task Force Central & Land Force Central Area

31 Canadian Brigade Group

EX Quick Brief - The Marines Take Meaford - 20 - 22 Apr 2012

Capt Tim Fletcher

It started with an idea to do something "different" and ended with a joint "get-acquainted" exercise with India Company, Third Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment (I Coy, 3rd of the 25th), a Reserve United States Marine Corp company headquartered in Buffalo, New York.

Months of planning came together at LFCA TC Meaford the weekend of 20-22 April, with some strange vehicles sliding through the gates and down to the FIBUA (Fighting In Built-Up Area) village site. USMC Humvees in green and tan and Marines in chocolate-chip cammies were soon setting up their neat little two-man bivvie tents in orderly rows and getting to know their Riley counterparts.

As an expeditionary force, the USMC Reservists fit in nicely with the Riley's Light Infantry background. The stand-based training, set up in co-operation with 7th Toronto Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery; and the Grey and Simcoe Foresters from nearby Owen Sound (now part of 31 Canadian Brigade Group with the Rileys), allowed Rileys and Marines to compare weapons, organization and tactics as a group and later one-on-one.

The Marines brought some jammy kit with them ? the infra-red scopes were really impressive ? but it wasn't all one-sided. Strangely, they really liked our modular tentage, and they thought our clothing was top-drawer stuff, especially the wet-weather gear. Soldier-to-Marine discussions showed they shared many of our issues with recruiting, retention and budget, getting people out on exercise and so on. There were many more similarities than differences.

The demonstration of varying section tactics ? comparing the 8-soldier Canadian section with the 13-member Marine section ? was one of the more interesting demonstrations. The Marine section brought much more firepower (but using the same basic rifle and light and heavy machine guns), giving many more options to a commander. The Canadian section seemed a little easier to deploy and control. The differing tactics each brought to the table made for some great discussions.

The weekend closed with a friendly but intense combat-based competition using battlefield skills such as casualty evacuation, resupply, low crawl and weapons stripping and assembly. The Rileys won some, the Marines others but in the end, it was a draw, with each group respecting the other's skills.

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More than 90 Rileys were on hand, along with the attachments from the Greys, 7 Toronto and 32 Service Battalion, matching up with the 100 Marine Corps reservists. The weekend was a valuable interchange between two Allied forces within NATO, where interoperability is key. Hopefully a future tactical weekend will put both units in the field together!