UK — Royal Marine leads first landings with Brazilian Marines

A Roy­al Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has led a series of beach assault exer­cis­es with his Brazil­ian coun­ter­parts off the coast of Rio de Janeiro — the first time on this scale.

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Roy­al Marines and their Brazil­ian coun­ter­parts con­duct a beach assault exer­cise off the coast of Rio de Janeiro
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Lieu­tenant Colonel Neil Wraith over­saw the dynam­ic drills that involved hun­dreds of Brazil­ian Marines and Roy­al Marines from the Roy­al Navy’s amphibi­ous heli­copter car­ri­er HMS Ocean fast rop­ing from heli­copters and using land­ing craft.

Lt Col Wraith is the warship’s amphibi­ous oper­a­tions offi­cer and over the last week he has been lead­ing on the plan­ning and exe­cut­ing of the beach assaults and train­ing being con­duct­ed by the two nation’s troops. He said:

“It’s an inter­est­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty doing what I do. First, there is the oper­a­tions offi­cer who will deal with HMS Ocean’s mar­itime pic­ture; then I am the link between the ship and the land­ing craft that insert forces onto land by sea.

“We’re an incred­i­bly flex­i­ble part of what the ship does and we are trained to work in many con­di­tions and envi­ron­ments.”

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Lieu­tenant Colonel Neil Wraith, Roy­al Marines
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

In just a few days the Brazil­ian Marines and naval pilots were trained in how to car­ry out amphibi­ous drills with their British coun­ter­parts, includ­ing fly­ing heli­copters to a small island near Rio and going ashore using land­ing craft.

Once on the island, both British and Brazil­ian per­son­nel shared their expe­ri­ences — the British told of work in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Brazil­ians of pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty in Haiti.

Lt Col Wraith served in Iraq twice, includ­ing with the first 40 Com­man­do unit to Al Faw dur­ing the inva­sion in 2003 and in 2008, and then as a com­pa­ny com­man­der with 40 Com­man­do in Hel­mand province in Afghanistan. Lt Col Wraith said:

“That expe­ri­ence shows just how broad the range of skills are that you need, and why these exer­cis­es with Brazil will be of great use.

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Roy­al Marines fast rope from Com­man­do Heli­copter Force Lynx heli­copters dur­ing mil­i­tary exer­cis­es in Brazil
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

“It’s about being com­plete­ly adapt­able, being able to move some­where quick­ly and accu­rate­ly.

“The first Roy­al Marine amphibi­ous forces for the inva­sion of Afghanistan back in 2001 were launched from HMS Ocean when we had been oper­at­ing on a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent task.”

HMS Ocean has been in the Atlantic since the sum­mer when it took part in the inter­na­tion­al joint exer­cise Auri­ga off the coast of Amer­i­ca.

The assault ship has also been on stand­by recent­ly on the Roy­al Navy’s Atlantic patrol in the Caribbean. Next, the ship cross­es the Atlantic for more joint work with nations in West Africa.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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