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New Zealand Army soldiers prepare to clear a room during a live-fire shoot house at range 216 during Exercise Dawn Blitz 2013 here, June 13. The range was designed to give the soldiers a chance to practice close quarter combat situations, and prepare themselves for future operations. Dawn Blitz 2013 is one of a series of amphibious training events on both coasts of the U.S. that take place annually. Exercises like Dawn Blitz provide realistic, relevant training necessary for effective global crisis response expected of the Navy and Marine Corps.

Photo by Lance Cpl. James Gulliver

Marines give New Zealand Army house-to-house combat training

17 Jun 2013 | Lance Cpl. James Gulliver

New Zealand Army soldiers have left a good impression on Marines with their discipline and marksmanship skills and have proven themselves a valuable force to train alongside.

Marines conducted a live-fire shoot house at range 216 during Exercise Dawn Blitz 2013 here, June 13. 

The range was designed to give the New Zealand soldiers a chance to practice their close quarter combat skills to prepare them for future operations.

“This really helps both of us,” said Sgt. John Forrest a section leader serving with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. “Not only are they able to refine their skills and learn tactics from us, but we are also able to take away valuable information from them.” 

The Marines were given a chance to see how New Zealand soldiers operate in close-quarter combat situations, giving them tips on how to improve their skills and also taking away ideas they could use in their own individual fire teams and squads.

The New Zealand soldiers left an impression on the Marines with their skills on the range.

“They’re fantastically organized and extremely disciplined and are probably one of the most disciplined foreign units I have been able to work with,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Repco, the commanding officer of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. “Their marksmanship is excellent and how they conduct themselves both in garrison and in the field is noteworthy.” 

The exercise also gave the Marines a chance to see how New Zealand soldiers work, to prepare for future operations.
“This training really forces us to hone our skills, and also develop that brother-to-brother relationship that will be necessary to have in any future coalition operations,” said Repco, a native of New Canaan, Conn. 

1st Bn. 1st Marines plays a vital role in Dawn Blitz, focusing mainly on training alongside soldiers of the New Zealand and Canadian Army at multiple ranges throughout Camp Pendleton.

“We are running them through multiple events including live-fire ranges, indoor shooting houses, and the infantry immersion trainer, giving them a chance to experience the best training we have to offer,“ Repco said.

Dawn Blitz 2013 is a scenario-driven exercise designed to test Navy and Marine Corps forces at the Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) and Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) level, while promoting military-to-military cooperation and interoperability with partnered nations. 

The bond developed during Dawn Blitz and the information learned from both sides is irreplaceable and will play a critical role in future operations, Recpco added.