U.S. Marines punched back against reports that they surrendered to the Royal Marines in a recent war game exercise that played out in the California Mojave Desert.
Initial reports cited the Royal Marines claiming victory over the U.S. Marines in the five-day exercise nicknamed “Green Dagger” after it was alleged the U.S. Marines had to surrender and “reset” halfway through after the British forces took control of 65 percent of the area. The event ran from late September to early October at the U.S. Marine Corps Twentynine Palms base in southern California.
But the U.S. Marines denounced the claims in a recent statement citing that victors are never named in these exercises, nor did the exercise even allow for a “surrender.”
“During this exercise, a U.S. Marine Regiment augmented with subordinate units formed an adversary force to actively challenge and test a peer regiment of U.S. Marines,” read a statement from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) at Twentynine Palms to The War Zone. “This training opportunity increased warfighting readiness and interoperability of the U.S. Marine Corps with multinational forces.”
British Royal #Marines with Charlie Company, @40commando, @RoyalMarines, conduct Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain during Exercise Green Dagger at The Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, #California.#AlliedPartners pic.twitter.com/aN4s7JdVSo
— The Combat Center (@CombatCenterPAO) October 22, 2021
“Exercise scenarios are adjusted as needed to assist commanders in meeting training objectives,” the statement from the MCAGCC continued. “‘Winners’ are never determined. This exercise does not provide an opportunity to ‘surrender,’ ‘keep score,’ or ‘reset.’ The objective of the exercise is to heighten unit performance and increase readiness.”
The context of the British claimed “victory” that was replicated throughout many media outlets, was also called into question as it appears there were multiple international units fighting together on one side of the simulated battle, including American service members from the Marine Forces Special Operations Command and the United Arab Emirates Presidential guards.
A closer look at the statement of triumph from the Royal Marines reveals that they did at least give credit to their allies, claiming a “multinational” victory.
Victorious! 🏆@RoyalMarines triumph in part of multinational team on Exercise Green Dagger 21. The 5-day Multi-domain war-fighting exercise concluded with an epic close quarters finale in Mojave Desert.
🇬🇧🇨🇦🇳🇱🇦🇪🇺🇸#StrongerTogether @USMC pic.twitter.com/MW0xzw0TBt
— 40 Commando Royal Marines (@40commando) October 30, 2021
Turns out there was significant USMC forces on both sides of this one. https://t.co/H0wORu77zp
— B. A. Friedman (@BA_Friedman) November 3, 2021
A former marine pointed out the dangers of sensationalizing these types of exercises that are intended to sharpen the skills of all service members involved and that, depending on the rules, they may commonly involve “resets” in order to maximize training efficiency.
These exercises commonly involve resets when exercises reach a point where the training value decreases, they were operating under different rules (e.g. the defenders in this exercise were allowed to regenerate after they sustained casualties but the attackers weren’t), etc. 2/
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) November 3, 2021
He further explained that there should be “failures” in these types of exercises.
These exercises should involve failures, especially as the US Marine Corps changes its focus to fighting a high-end fight with a peer adversary and tests new TTPs. The one part that was accurate is that 40 Commando, as always, did a great job. 3/
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) November 3, 2021
The U.S. Marines tweeted a statement about the event indicating that the exercise was mutually beneficial and that “Iron sharpens iron.”
Tough, realistic training with foreign partners allows us to sharpen our skills, validate our techniques, and learn new tactics.
Iron sharpens iron. pic.twitter.com/ybSFBqjQ79
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) November 3, 2021
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