By Staff Writer | January 1, 2013
More than 600 British Royal Marine commandos are completing an annual six-week exercise, Black Alligator, which is at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. The battalion-level exercise has tested the UK 42 Commando’s combat skills, part of which included an element dedicated to modern urban combat (MUC) drills. Other aspects saw the use of an RAF Merlin Mk3 helicopter to train for airborne insertion and assaults. The training area is much larger than any available in the UK and the environment more challenging and in-line with potential deployment areas, including Afghanistan. The Royal Marines will take over a Lead Commando Task Group in May 2013. This means they are the first unit to be called by the UK government for any short-notice operation worldwide.