U.S. MARINE CORPS
A Foreign Military Training Unit Marine corpsman tends to a baby during the unit’s deployment in Africa. Medical care
for local villagers was among the methods used to help break down cultural barriers.
days, with each team deploying about three times a year.
The mission process begins with SOCOM, which
assigns the FMTU unit, for example, to teach weapons
operations and communication to a foreign military
unit in a particular country. FMTU then analyzes the
mission and develops a mission-specific training package that supports the goals of SOCOM and the regional U.S. combatant commander.
A Pre-Deployment Site Survey team of Marines then
goes to the host country to be sure the proposed training package meets the needs of local forces. The team
then returns to FMTU to refine the training package
before the deployment.
Each FMTU team is headed by a major, who acts as
the external face of the team. Under that officer is a
captain, who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the team. Each team has a team sergeant, a
communications specialist, a corpsman and light,
medium and heavy weapons specialists.
Now that three FMTU teams have completed their
first missions — two more are currently deployed —
the Corps, as well as team members, is starting to
digest the new unit’s progress.
“We deployed to Southern Command, European
Command and Central Command, so we hit three-quarters of the world,” said Peznola.
He added that since FMTU will not be fully mission-capable until fiscal year 2008, it’s hard to judge just
exactly what, if any, changes need to be made as the
unit grows and hones its training pipeline.
He was very sure, however, the partner nations that
have already received one of the first FMTU teams benefited greatly from training, and that the Marine Corps
learned a lot as well.
Peznola said FMTU teams provided a gamut of military training ranging from high-end infantry skills for
more established foreign units to “here are your boots,
here are your utilities and here’s your weapon” basics
for newly formed units. He said one of the teams was
“blown away” by how accurate the foreign unit was
once it got some basic training on gun-sight mechanics.
“You’ve got to be realistic in what you’re going to
achieve, but you also have to realize what we’re trying
to do is persistent engagement,” he said. “So everyone