Tongan Marines Train For Iraq Duty
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  1. #1

    Exclamation Tongan Marines Train For Iraq Duty

    Tongan Marines Train For Iraq Duty
    Tonga Now, Tonga


    First in a two-part series on Tongan Marines training for Irag published in the Desert Voice Magazine, which is published for U.S. and Coalition Forces camps in Kuwait and Iraq. This article was on the front page of DV on September 19th 2007. (www.arcent.army.mil/news_...voice.htm)

    Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Paul Tuttle 1st TSC Public Affairs



    Left photo was the cover photo: Marines from the Kingdom of Tonga conduct military operations in urban terrain training at a training facility near Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Sept. 8


    Mention a tropical paradise in the South Pacific and most people would conjure up a vision of balmy islands, wonderful food, warm and sultry nights and gentle people. The last thing they would think of would be hardened, trained warriors getting ready to fight in a hot, arid land. But tha’s exactly what a contingent of the Royal marines from the Kingdom of Tonga is doing.


    The Marines hit the desert near Camp Buehring the first week of September ready to polish up their training before they go to Iraq to augment force protection personnel in the Baghdad area.

    Task Force Gator of the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) is the facilitator for training the Marines and other coalition forces. The 1st TSC supports Third Army/U.S. Army Central in its logistical mission in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

    Marines from the Kingdom of Tonga rush into a room during a live-fire exercise during close-quarters battle training at a training facility near Camp Buehring, Kuwait Sept. 8

    Cpl. Jason Scott, a member of Task Force Gator, said the Marines get trained in convoy operations, detecting roadside bombs and conducting checkpoint operations. They receive combat training in an urban environment – how to enter buildings and clear rooms under close-quarters fighting conditions. They also study cultural awareness and receive medical training.

    “(This) range is one of the harshest deserts in the world,” he said, “and it’s one of the most unique training ranges.”
    The range is open, flat and desolate. Live-fire exercises are conducted there with little risk to others so it’s ideal to train coalition forces by simulating combat conditions before they go north to Iraq, he said.

    One of Scott’s responsibilities is to make sure his charges adapt to life in the desert.

    “It will peak around 120 degrees in the afternoon, “ said the Madison, Wis., native. “We make sure they stay hydrated by drinking water. We stress through their chain of command that they are drinking water.”

    Capt. Toni Fonokalafi, contingent commander for the Tongan Defense Services, said that his Marines knew the desert would be tough.

    “We thought this (would be) hot, but never expected it to be this hot,” he said. “The last three days was good, acclimating the boys to be adapted to this type of weather.”

    Captain Soane Aholelei, of the Tonga Royal Guards serving as a plantoon commander for the Marines, agreed with Fonokalafi.

    Left: Marines from the Kingdom of Tonga practice techniques for searching enemy prisoners of war at a training facility near Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Sept. 6

    “When we arrive, we acclimatized ourselves,” Aholelei said. “We got to do a bit of PT in the hot Kuwaiti heat and now we are slowly adjusting to moving around in full kit.”

    Their training requires just that. They move, run and shoot in full combat gear.

    “We’ve done a bit of small weapons handling drills,” Aholelei said, “and now we are doing mission focused training.”

    The Marines believe they came well prepared for this type of training. FOnokalafi said they trained with the U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif., before coming to Kuwait.

    He said the Tongan Marines have trained with the Marines’ 1st Division since the early 1980’s and they conduct military exercise with them every two years.

    U.S. Marines from the Marine 1st Division came to Togna for a two week pre-deployment train-up, Aholelei said.

    “We went through the basics, through cultural briefs, through small unit tactics,” he said. “It was foundation training before we flew to Pendleton. WE followed on through the basic training that we conducted at home.”

    Working with U.S. Marines is nothing new. Tongan Marines fought with the 1st Division in the Solomon Islands and at Guadalcanal during World War II.

    Scott is appreciative of the opportunity to work with troops from other countries.


    “It’s a rare experience,” he said. “A lot of people in our country don’t know where Tonga is on the map. Now we work next to them.”

    He counts himself lucky to learn about other peoples.

    Marine from the Kingdom of Tonga react to commands to engage targets during close-quaters battle training at a training facility near Camp Buehring, Kuwait Sept. 8

    “We converse openly. We talk about each other’s cultures,” he said. “It’s a great learning experience.”

    Spc. Jason Udan, TF Gator, of San Diego, Calif., put it in a different way. “We treat them like any other U.S. Soldier,” he said. “They’re brothers from another country. They’re going to go to some place that’s dangerous. We train them to survive.”


    Fonokalafi is glad to receive the training his Marines are getting and is proud to be a part of the coalition. “As you know, we are maybe the smallest military in the world, but being affiliated with the most powerful nation in the world – we feel great about it.”

    Editor's note: This article was forwarded to Tonga-Now by "Proud-Tongan" from the U.S.

    Let us continue to uplift our Marines in prayer.

    www.tonga-now.to/Article.aspx?ID=4270&Mode=1

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  2. #2
    Tongan Marines Train For The Horrors Of War


    Second of a two part series on Tongan Marines training for Irag published in the Desert Voice Magazine, which is published for U.S. and Coalition Forces' camps in Kuwait and Iraq. This article was on the front page of DV on September 26th 2007. (http://www.arcent.army.mil/news_lett...rt%20voice.htm)

    Story and photos by Master Sgt. Michele Hammonds 1st TSC Public Affairs

    Left: A Tongan Marine puts his medical skills to the test as he works on a casualty during the Tactical Combat Casualty Care training course at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Sept. 11.

    Fifty Royal Marines from the Kingdom of Tonga did not storm the tropical beach in their native homeland – rather they hit the desert sand when they went through medical training at the medical skills training facility at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Sept. 11.
    The Tonga contingent is headed to Baghdad where they will employ the skills they learned during their stay in the Third Army / U.S. Army Central operational area.


    The U.S. military and civilian contractors provided medical training to 50 Tongan Marines led by Capt. Toni Fonokalafi, senior national representative contingent commander.



    Tongan Marines work together on a casualty during the Tactical Combat Casualty Care tactic procedures training course at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Sept. 11.

    Fonokalafi commented on the hands-on training as he went through the four-hour tactical Combat Casualty Care, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures class.

    “Recently we had (U.S.) Marines come over to Tonga for a week of training, after that we came through Camp Pendleton for another two weeks of training with the U.S. Marines,” he said. “Then we came to Camp Buehring for another week.”

    “Now is our final week of training with the Army. Some of the training is repetitious, but overall it is good training for the team to get ready for the task ahead of us.”

    The medical training not only provided medical hands-on-training, but it also helped the Tonga Marines build confidence, said Fonokalafi.

    “All of this training gives us the confidence to do what is expected of us in Iraq,” he said. “Like today, this medical training has shown us how to treat people in these situations (scenarios given in class) and this builds our confidence in whatever we should do in the north.”


    Fonokalafi said his Marines were eager to go through the practical exercises and hands-on training in Third Army/US Army Central’s area before moving up north to assume their new assignment.

    Brent Cloud, medical simulations training instructor, demonstrates the proper way to apply a tournique to a training dummy at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Sept. 11.
    “We are currently in Kuwait doing our final part of the training. Everybody is happy and everybody is excited to move on and conduct the missions outlined for us,” Fonokalafi said.

    Tongan society is a very close-knit community of small islands. Many of the deployed Marines are related to one another, said Capt. Soane Aholelei, 2nd platoon leader for Tongan Marines.

    “It’s a saying back home that everyone knows a bit about each other, “ Aholelei said. “Seeing the reality of what may happen – we need this type of skill to save the guy right next to us.”

    The Marines went through a battery of hands-on training using mannequins to practice on, working to keep a patient alive until trained medical staff arrives.

    Spc. James McClellan, of the 213th Air Support Medical Company, Arkansas National Guard, provided assistance to the Tongan’s they went through the hand’s-on training.


    “I think they are doing real well,” said McClellan, a registered nurse with the White River Medical Center, Batesville, Ark., where he resided before he deployed with his guard unit. “They are energetic and want to learn how to do the medical tasks, and that goes a long way.”

    Tongan Marines work on a causualty training dummy during Tactical Combat Casualty Care tactics, techniques, and procedures training course at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Sept. 11.

    Brent Cloud, medical simulations training instructor, was the primary trainer for the Tongans. “We do what we can (in) getting the guys in here and we try to provie them with quality training,” said Cloud, who teaches about 300 military personnel a day and 1,500 aq week, including coalition forces, “We try to accommodate every one regardless of their skill set,” and apparently regardless of their nationality as well.

    Editor's note: This article was forwarded to Tonga-Now by "Proud-Tongan" from the U.S.

    Let us continue to uplift our Marines in prayer.


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

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