Royal Marines rescue civilians during Virginia exercises

Royal Marines have been training in the evacuation of vulnerable civilians during exercises in the United States.

Marines specialise in warfare in extreme environments as well as covert commando raids but they also must be equipped to deliver humanitarian aid and be able to help civilians in need.

That is why the Information Advantage cell of Plymouth-based 30 Commando headed to Quantico, Virginia, to work and share knowledge with US, Australian, Dutch, Canadian and Colombian counterparts.

Their first task was to produce detailed plans for a Non-combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO), the withdrawal of people in danger to a safe haven.

That could be British citizens or nationals who are also at risk, or nonessential military personnel.

A fictional scenario challenged the multi-national group to aid a made-up Southeast Asian country, called Cyan.

The 30 Commando IA cell were joined by Royal Navy Reserve subject matter experts along with Defence Scientist Technology Lab (DSTL) analysts specialising in behavioural science.

After a week of planning, the task force carried out the NEO in a life-like scenario created by the Urban Training Complex and a host of highly-skilled role players, which allowed the teams to gain the maximum training benefit from each phase.

It’s great to be in Quantico to further develop our IO skills, the training facilities and terrain here provide a great environment to develop the IA cells skills. It has also been a great opportunity to share knowledge with and learn from other nations in a challenging training environment

Warrant Officer Second Class, Lee Douglas

The 30 Commando contingent and participants from the Dutch Marines and USMC also took the opportunity to further develop the long standing Tri-Marine relationship.

“Combined Unit Exercise 19.2 has been great for the IA Cell and given us the opportunity to practise working alongside our marine counterparts from the Dutch and US marines, which is an already strong relationship we are always keen to further improve,” Major Anthony Hill, Officer Commanding, 30 Commando IA Cell, said.

The exercise was designed to provide Information Operations and information-related capabilities and give trained personnel the opportunity to exercise integration into an operational planning team and focus on tactical skills.

It provided 30 Commando with the opportunity to refine Information Operations skills, ensuring they are suitably qualified to undertake missions during the winter deployment in the Arctic and beyond, for both the Royal Marines and wider defence.