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Aug 14, 2015

Coastguard Recruits Graduate

A cohort of naval officers attached to the Belize National Coast Guard graduated earlier today after completing an intensive curriculum geared towards promoting them to marines.  For the past several weeks, the class of sixteen has been under the tutelage of the United States Marines, receiving advanced training in weapons handling, marksmanship, as well as hand-to-hand combat.  The rigorous preparation comes at a critical juncture for the coast guard as it transitions the unit into what is now known as the Coast Guard Marine Infantry Division.  Commander John Borland and Captain Steven Dally told us more about that transformation.

 

Rear Admiral John Borland, Commander, BNCG

“The coast guard is going through a transformation process where we’re now evolving to develop the fleet that was once referred to as the coast guard fleet will now be transformed to the Coast Guard Marine Infantry Division.  So all of these men and women that have stood behind me now have to be transformed into becoming marines.  Marines first.  They will still do their coast guard training but that takes place at a different time.  We’re also trying to tailor the coast guard recruit training curriculum where now after twelve weeks you graduate as a coast guard marine and subsequently you go through a one-year apprenticeship period where you learn your coast guard skills, the traditional coast guard skills and your law enforcement skills.”

 

Steven Dally

Capt. Steven Dally, Security Co-operations Team Officer, U.S. Marines

“What we did was that we focused on things like patrolling, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat techniques, etc.  What we’re looking to do is basically build a train the trainer type aspect here because at some point in time we’re going to leave and we want to enable our partners to do the same while we’re gone.  So we have our time together here and we’re going to work with one another as best as we can and as frequently as we can.  But when we’re gone we want to make sure that the coast guard is able to do their thing as well once we’re done.”

 

John Borland

Rear Admiral John Borland

“What happened here in the coast guard as traditional coast guardsmen, we found ourselves doing a lot of coastal and amphibious which our traditionally trained coast guard men and women weren’t prepared to deal with and hence the reason for the transformation.  So yes, a lot of what we’ve done has to do with the interface between working as a law enforcement officer onboard an enforcement vessel but then there has to be an interface in the littorals and coming in contact with the coast and the beaches and the mangrove swamps.  And that’s where we need to be equally as capable as we are on our boats at sea.  So developing that amphibious component, the marine infantry skills is extremely important to what we do now as almost a non-traditional coast guard element.”

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