View Full Version : Marines visit Sri Lanka, Maldives to swap hand-to-hand combat skills

10-16-02, 08:36 AM
Staff Sgt. Daniel G. Bullock, instructor, Marine Corps Martial Arts School
Far East, 3rd Marine Division, keeps time as two Maldivian soldiers spar
with each other during close combat training.
Kicking, stomping, slashing and punching might not sound like the best way
to make new friends.
Just don't tell that to the Marines.
Two returned recently from a trip to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, two Indian
Ocean nations, on a hand-to-hand combat training exchange.
They spent more than two weeks trading body blows with members of the
countries' respective militaries, showing off the Marine Corps Martial Arts
Program, their latest way of face-to-face fighting.
The trip was part of Lt. Gen Wallace C. Gregson's initiative to engage and
train with allied and friendly nations throughout the Far East and Indian
Ocean regions, said Marine Master Sgt. Shane T. Franklin, director of the
Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Far East.
But on the ground, Marines and soldiers from the two countries rarely have
had interaction.
They got to know each other through a series of bruises and lingering aches.
"This was some of the first interaction we've had," as the 3rd Marine
Expeditionary Force with Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Franklin said.
"The Maldives take advantage of some of the training we do at Cobra Gold,
but this is really the first time we've had a chance to visit them and train
on the ground."
Any "small country, small military" thoughts soon went out the window. The
Maldives paired Marines with their drill instructor cadre, professional
soldiers tasked with training that nation's recruits.
In Sri Lanka, they found themselves opposite the national tae kwon do team,
now participating in the Asian Games.
"They were very competent with their martial arts," Franklin said. "But much
of their focus was on the sports martial arts, where we're focused on the
combat aspect. ... We showed them ways they could take their skill and apply
it on the battlefield."
Marine Staff Sgt. David Bullock, chief instructor, Marine Corps Martial Arts
Program, Okinawa, said the quickness with which military forces picked up
the Marine program surprised him, but with similar self-defense and
close-combat fighting programs, many of the lessons translated easily.
"At first, you could see they were a little scared," he said, "but once they
saw us going through it with them, they were very receptive."
The shortest training days were six hours; the longest ran 12, keeping the
Marines and their foreign hosts literally in the fight. "Getting dirty and
nasty is why we were there," Franklin said. "It creates a better bond when
you're both going through it. It gets to where you almost don't want to
The Marines also received a few lessons.
In the Maldives, they spent a day learning about Kalashnakov rifles, famous
for their widespread use by the former Soviet Union, Vietnam and most
recently, Taliban and al-Qaida forces.
The Marines are planning to travel again for training at noncommissioned
officer schools and follow-up work in the martial-arts program.
"It was an excellent opportunity for the Marine Corps as a whole," Bullock
"We got to go to another country and see our tactics compared to theirs. You
always wonder how it stacks up, but I now know our techniques work."
Silent Drill Team performs at Albany MCLB Story Reported By Jim Wallace
Albany -- Despite a steady rain, hundreds of people attended the Marine
Corps Battle Color Ceremony on base today. The prestigious Silent Drill
Platoon Team had to cancel last year's performance because of security
concerns after September 11th. The Marines were not going to let rain keep
them from performing this year.
The Drum and Bugle Corps of the Commandants own band marched and played to
start the performance. Then the Silent Drill Platoon Members showed their
precision work with real rifle and bayonet.
One member of the Silent Drill Platoon is Albany native, 19 year old Lance
Corporal Robert Gallup. A Westover High grad, Gallup said he has dreamed of
performing in his hometown. Gallup said "It is a dream come true, to come to
this field and be one of the people performing rather than sitting in the
stands watching."
Many of the people watching the Silent Drill Team are South Georgia high
school ROTC students. They were impressed. Dougherty High ROTC student
Russieka Hall said "The precision was really good. I liked just about
everything about them."
The Silent Drill Platoon was formed in 1948. All it's members are riflemen,
who tour around the world to perform.