The Royal Marines

Images captured are of Yankee Company 45 Commando Royal Marines conducting a live firing attack on to an enemy position in the Mojave Desert. They were supported by American M1 Abrams Tanks and Viking armoured vehicles during the Combined Arms Live Firing Exercise (CALFEX) phase of Black Alligator 14.

Images captured are of Yankee Company 45 Commando Royal Marines conducting a live firing attack on to an enemy position in the Mojave Desert. They were supported by American M1 Abrams Tanks and Viking armoured vehicles during the Combined Arms Live Firing Exercise (CALFEX) phase of Black Alligator 14.

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Although British Forces are due to pull out of Afghanistan later this year the men of 45 Commando continue to train for all situations.

In the 13 years of operations in Afghanistan more than 14,000 Royal Marines have been deployed over 12 operations and their bravery and distinguished service has earned them nearly 200 commendations.

Images captured are of Yankee Company 45 Commando Royal Marines conducting a live firing attack on to an enemy position in the Mojave Desert. They were supported by American M1 Abrams Tanks and Viking armoured vehicles during the Combined Arms Live Firing Exercise (CALFEX) phase of Black Alligator 14.

Images captured are of Yankee Company 45 Commando Royal Marines conducting a live firing attack on to an enemy position in the Mojave Desert. They were supported by American M1 Abrams Tanks and Viking armoured vehicles during the Combined Arms Live Firing Exercise (CALFEX) phase of Black Alligator 14.

Exercise Black Alligator, a six week operation played out across 1,100 square miles of Southern California’s Mojave desert, prepares Marines to be deployed at a moment’s notice into a severe environment. Getting boots firmly on the ground the Arbroath Herald’s Fiona Pringle was welcomed along for the ride.

The main aim of the Combined Armed Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) is to test the basic skills of each Marine and their ability to deploy effectively, regardless of current threats or political premonitions on where they will find themselves in next.

Commanding Officer of 45 Commando Group Lieutenant Colonel Dan Cheesman said: “I am not going to guess where we go next but the raison d’etre for 3 Commando Brigade is to train hard in austere environments whether that is mountain and cold weather warfare such as in the high Arctic or in the desert or in the jungles.

“We have to mix and match the training opportunities that we get and frankly at 40 degrees, at altitude in the desert with lots of things that want to eat you and sting you, out here is about as tough training as you can go for and I am very pleased that we’re getting robust education while we’re here.”

Follow blow by blow action of the exercise in next weeks Arbroath Herald.