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Exercise Alexander The Great 2020
by U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ashley McLaughlin
March 11, 2020

U.S. Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Hellenic and French Armed Forces participated in Exercise Alexander the Great 2020 in Volos, Greece, January 31 to February 8, 2020.

The exercise consisted of integrated battalion-level command-and-control, and company/platoon-level combined-arms training to increase interoperability between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Hellenic and French Armed Forces, to reassure Allied and Partner Nations, to improve readiness, to reinforce relations, and finally to improve the ability to deploy alongside partnered forces.

February 1, 2020 - U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jordan Brady, a team leader with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, uses a collimator to establish a pre-set zero on a rifle during Exercise Alexander the Great 2020 in Volos, Greece. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ashley McLaughlin)
February 1, 2020 - U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jordan Brady, a team leader with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, uses a collimator to establish a pre-set zero on a rifle during Exercise Alexander the Great 2020 in Volos, Greece. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ashley McLaughlin)

“Alexander the Great is an excellent demonstration of improving military relationships between Europe and the U.S.,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Chad Gaddis, a squad leader with 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines. “We come together to execute everything from small-unit training to more complex military training operations.”

During the exercise, service members from participating militaries showed their capabilities through live-fire ranges, patrols, and a beach assault. By incorporating multinational support, the countries were able to build a stronger front by combining individual specialties and experiences.

Alexander the Great 2020 began as a week-long field operation consisting of integrated non-live-fire, squad-level, tactical training, an integrated live-fire combat marksmanship range, and off-handed shooting.

Once aboard the French ship Dixmude, a helicopter carrier, planning and preparation commenced for a beach assault. The militaries executed the beach assault on an island, followed by vehicle reconnaissance and foot patrols throughout the island to various objective points.

“All the forces worked well together, because we all had the same mission and goals, as well as just wanting to learn about each other’s tactics and operations,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mason Spivey, a squad leader with the 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines.

The annual exercise concluded with a culminating event testing the skills that the service members learned throughout the week. By allowing Marines with 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines the opportunity to work with militaries around the globe, the Marines improved mission readiness and are better prepared for any potential future multi-national operations and/or exercises.

February 1, 2020 - U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division conduct a simulated medical evacuation during Exercise Alexander the Great 2020 in Volos, Greece. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ashley McLaughlin)
February 1, 2020 - U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division conduct a simulated medical evacuation during Exercise Alexander the Great 2020 in Volos, Greece. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ashley McLaughlin)

One other vital purpose of the exercise was to prove the U.S. Marine Corps’ ability to accomplish U.S. European Command objectives.

“Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to do this exercise again,” said Private First Class Dandre Washington, a rifleman with 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines. “The next time we do this, we can share the tactics and experiences that we learn between iterations to make us a better force. Things can work smoothly because we’re all working together as one unit.”

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