On 20th October the Netherlands Marine Corps (Korps Mariniers) Company alongside the Romanian Platoon of the MNBN successfully completed the certification exercise to confirm Full Operational Capability (FOC).
FOC means that a contingent has passed all the necessary orientation and pre-deployment training and is now fully capable of deploying with MNBN. In order to achieve this status a Troop Contributing Nation (TCN) must conduct a variety of in-theater and home nation training.
Pre-deployment to EUFOR Operation Althea
FOC means that a contingent has passed all the necessary orientation and pre-deployment training and is now fully capable of deploying with MNBN. In order to achieve this status a Troop Contributing Nation (TCN) must conduct a variety of in-theater and home nation training. Prior to the joining Op Althea in BiH, the 11 Raiding Squadron conducted pre-deployment training lasting around six months. This involved intense training in a number of different areas.
Crowd & Riot Control
One of the first objectives in the pre-deployment training was the Crowd & Riot Control (CRC) course. This course was given by the Royal Netherlands Military Police. The training started with how to use the baton and the shield and putting the different formations and commands into practice. Specialized training was given to some of the Marines in how to use tear gas and how to deal with fires and molotov cocktails.
There was also a training day on the firing range on how to use the sidearm whilst carrying all the CRC equipment and moving in different formations. This course was completed by 47 Marines who are ready to conduct CRC operations.
Stakeholder Engagement Training
A completely different element of the training was the Stakeholder Engagement training. This training focused on the ‘soft skills’ of the Marines. The training was given to all officers and NCO’s and a few other Marines of the Raiding Squadron and lasted four days. The focus during these days was on how to interact with different stakeholders, how to build a connection and how to achieve your objectives that you set for the conversations.
As a light infantry unit, operating with vehicles is not our core business. Our first challenge for working with vehicles was to make sure we had enough Marines with the right driver licenses for the unarmored vehicles (Volkswagen Amaroks and Land Rovers) and for the armored vehicles (Bushmasters).
Every Raiding Troop did one week of mobility training with the unarmored vehicles. This week included driving skills, driving in formations, contact drills, medical lessons and maintenance of the vehicles. All three Raiding Troops also conducted mobility training with the Bushmasters, focusing on formations, contact drills and practicing various actions on.
Mission Focused Education
The last objective was the Mission Focused Education. This was a full week of theoretical education, mandatory for everyone going on deployment. This education included various subjects such as a general awareness brief, the historical background of Bosnia and Herzegovina and cyber awareness.
The FOC exercise took place in Hotel Igman outside Sarajevo. During this exercise the contingent accompanied by a Platoon from the Romanian Armed Forces demonstrated their operational capabilities, with a number of dynamic serials testing everything from first aid and CASEVAC to company level tactical deployments. The exercises was conducted by COM MNBN who then certified the contingents as having achieved FOC to COM EUFOR and clearing them for deployment.