ROTA, Spain — Marines attached to 2nd Platoon Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST), Company Europe, conducted convoy training with Spanish marines during exercise LISA AZUL here Jan. 29 and Feb. 1. The bi-lateral exercise is designed to improve and sustain unit core capabilities and increase interoperability amongst all participating units as well cross-train with Spanish marines and improve cultural understanding between the two countries.
FAST Marines took a "crawl, walk, run, approach" to the training, focusing first with the identification of improvised explosive devices and conducting convoy formation.
"Our goal with the convoy training is for the Spanish get to the level to successfully negotiate convoy operations in a high threat area with IED's, all the way up to complex level attacks," said Marine Capt. Christopher Polidora, 2nd Platoon Cmdr., FAST Company. "The ultimate goal is to successfully negotiate the convoy course identifying threats and reacting to ambushes. We will throw in escalation of force procedures which are important in places like Afghanistan." The Spanish military is working in Afghanistan with International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). "Anywhere we go, theses sort of operations might pop up and we need to be proficient in these operations," said Polidora. "That's why this is an important part of the exercise for us and the Spanish."
Convoys are the lifeblood downrange. Numerous deploying units conduct convoy operations as part of their pre-deployment training. Polidora said that is why it is important to have the tactics in place before deploying. "Here is where we establish our Standard Operating Procedures," he said. "This is the best place to do learn them and refine them before deploying."
FAST Company Europe is a tenant command of Commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa (CTF 68). The task force is responsible for exercising tactical control and functional component command over assigned forces for the direction, control and approval of movements, maneuvers and operations necessary to accomplish Commander, Sixth Fleet assigned missions and tasks.