Rounds Downrage

By Lance Cpl. Taylor Cooper, Marine Corps Forces South

ANCON, Peru —

Elite troops from the U.S., Peru, Mexico, Paraguay and Columbia conducted various shooting drills as part of UNITAS 2017 at Ancon, Peru, July 20. 

The training aimed to bring the service members from each nations together, hone capabilities with their issued weapon systems, become familiarized with other nations’ weapons, and learn operational procedures from each other to increase interoperability.

“UNITAS is essentially a combined operation where forces come together to accomplish a mission and build a partnership,” said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Macarthur, the acting officer in charge of a detachment from 3rd Force Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division. “It is in itself about the training, however it also gives us all a chance to build upon the relationship that our nations have with one another and strengthen our ability to work together for possible future operations that might arise.”

The troops spent the day on the range, performing shooting drills and sharing their respective techniques and tactics with each other.

“For all the Marines and commandos out here, there are already commonalities that exist,” said Macarthur. “All the forces are very similar to us, which is very helpful because it allows us to be able to take what each of us does effectively and build upon our operating procedures to make us all better-rounded individually, and as a unit.”

Training among nations can prove to be beneficial to all forces by strengthening camaraderie and skills that may be used in a situation where multiple nations must work together for a common goal. 

“I think this is a great experience because we all having overlapping ways of doing things,” said Juan Zambrano, a 3rd degree commander in the parachuting department for the infantry of the Mexican marines. “Ultimately we are not here to learn, we are here to exchange information and knowledge to benefit the group.”