By CECN Ginger Knapp, NMCB 4
Sgt. Martin Stronach (standing), Royal Marines Commando Detachment Diego Garcia, looks on as BU1 Michael Munninger (kneeling), directs his squad with UTCN Lisa Shelby, both assigned to NMCB 4 Detail Diego Garcia, during the final phase of a bilateral training evolution onboard U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, Dec. 2. Photo by CMCS Vernon Forrester
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 Detail Diego Garcia and members of British Royal Marines Commando Detachment Diego Garcia combined forces to execute a multi-phased tactical training package in October and November onboard U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory.
The training sharpened the warfare skills of both the Seabees and Commandos, enhanced awareness of foreign services standard operating procedures and strengthened partnerships with adjacent commands.
Led by Ens. John Nurthen, officer-in-charge of NMCB 4 Detail Diego Garcia, and Sgt. Martin Stronach, the British unit’s training leader, the six-day training evolution served as one of the first combined training exercises between U.S. and U.K. forces onboard Diego Garcia.
“We’re thrilled to be conducting this training with the Seabees,” said Stronach. “It opens the door for future joint force training between the American and British forces on Diego Garcia.”
The evolution was organized into three phases. The first phase consisted of the familiarization live-fire practical application of the British SA-80 Assault Rifle and General Purpose Machine Gun. The unique drills included stationary and mobile firing positions, as well as combat medical aid training.
Phase two was comprised of boat boarding and room clearing procedures. This included basic PAC-20 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat familiarization; small and large vessel boarding while moving at sea; security and support; and search and seizure of a vessel.
The final phase introduced patrol maneuvers, tactical clearing of buildings, land navigation and reaction to enemy contact. The training culminated in a reactionary exercise that forced the Seabees and Royal Marines to apply tactics learned during the evolution in a simulated contingency environment.
“This was an incredible learning experience for all,” said Nurthen. “The Royal Marines made this training happen, and we are honored to have been able to take part and work alongside them.”