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NEWS | Nov. 3, 2009

Yemen military observes Marine training

By Gunnery Sgt. Christian Harding , Marine Corps Forces Central Command

Staff Sgt Jeffrey S. Ray, a Drill Instructor at MCRD Parris Island S.C., speaks to a delegation of military officers from Yemen via translator, during their orientation of recruit training hosted by Marine Corps Forces Central Command. The visit outlined how the United States, a partner nation, conducts comprehensive training programs and demonstrates the Marine Corps’ commitment to being a long-term partner in security cooperation.

PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (Nov. 3, 2009) – A delegation of military officers from Yemen arrived in the United States recently for an orientation of Marine Corps enlisted and officer training programs and education systems at several Marine Corps installations on the East Coast.

The delegation of six Yemen military officers included branches of their counter terrorism service, coast guard, and army special forces.  The orientation was coordinated and sponsored by Marine Corps Forces Central Command, Theatre Security Cooperation division.

“These types of engagements are key in the fight against terrorism,” said Lt.Col. Robert Young, MARCENT TSC chief coordinating officer.  “It’s important to strengthen relationships in the region, and that’s just what this does.”

Yemen is strategically located at the entrance to the Red Sea, continued Young. Geographically, the nation is in a crucial position in the multi-national, anti-piracy effort. The Marine Corps and its partners are committed to promoting security, stability, and our mutual interest in the region.

The intent of this orientation visit was to familiarize the Yemeni military officers with formal training programs currently in use by the United States Marine Corps. Support to Yemeni military officer training is likely to increase the effectiveness of this  partner’s military force.

“The goal of this visit is to see what Marines are doing here, and how they are doing it,” said 2ndLt Ammar Yahya Abdullah Alansi, a Yemeni Coast Guard Officer. “Through this visit, we can see what training tools and programs we do not have and what we might incorporate within our limited budget. “

“Yemen has a vested interest in fighting terrorism and extremism on the Arabian Peninsula and any help we can provide to advance their efforts is well worth our time,” Young said.  “It’s good to have friends in Yemen.”

Incidents of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in the territorial waters and the high seas in the region constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region. The Marine Corps and coalition partners are working together to detect, deter, disrupt and suppress pirate activity.

At Parris Island, the delegation had a look at how Marines are made. The orientation at the Recruit Depot included Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training, the Confidence Course, the rifle range, the crucible and the gas chamber. The visit concluded with a tour of the Parris Island Drill Instructor School and the Parris Island Museum.

The delegation also travelled to Marine Corps Bases at Camp Lejeune, N.C. and Quantico, Va.  There, they visited the School of Infantry, Marine Combat Training Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Officer Candidate School, The Basic School and Marine Corps University before their return home.

Currently in Yemen, there are two academies for their military forces.  Under the government of the Republic of Yemen, their servicemembers enter under no written contract and wear the uniform for life.  Once in the Yemen military, service tenure is for 20 to 25 years, given the age at time of enlistment.

“The armed forces of Yemen hope to take full advantage of the invitation the Marine Corps extended to them,” said Captain Mohammed Ali Mohammed Al-Rosi, a Yemen Special Operations commander, speaking through his interpreter.  “This visit is inspirational.”