SOLIDERS from Poole will be embarking on a top level training exercise from tomorrow with counterparts from the elite US Marine Corps.

But the three-week Exercise Burmese Chase is a far cry from Salisbury Plain or Poole Bay.

It takes place at Camp Pendleton, the US Marine Corps main training base near San Diego, California.

And the gunners will be training with some of the US military’s leading personnel and most potent weapons.

“It is without doubt the highlight of the year as far as we are concerned. Everyone is looking forward to this tremendously,” said Captain Seb Joyce, spokesman for 148 Battery of 29 Commando, Royal Artillery.

Capt Joyce said the aim of the exercise was interoperability, training to work more closely with their US counterparts.

He added: “Twenty-nine Commando has a long history of working with the US Marine Corps, most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also going back to the Second World War. We have a really strong link.”

The exercise will include live firing with personal weapons, night manoeuvres, computer simulation training, fast roping, abseiling, helicopter insertion and parachuting.

And the 30 soldiers from the UK will be getting closely familiarised with elements of the US military’s formidable firepower.

Some of the Marines’ top hardware will be used on the exercise, including the ‘Warthog’ A10 Thunderbolt, Cobra attack helicopters and the M777 155mm howitzer.

Captain Joyce added: “They have some fantastic equipment, what we call ‘big kit’ and this will be a real experience for everybody.

“This is all about training and development in a fast changing world and being able to work together in the future if and when we need to.”

Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the US Marine Corps and is roughly the size of Hampshire. It is located on the Southern California coast and was established in 1942 to train US Marines for the Second World War.

  • The Daily Echo will be joining 29 Commando for the first five days of the exercise starting tomorrow and you can follow Andy Martin’s coverage this week at, on twitter @andym_echo and @bournemouthecho and in the paper next week.

Commando Regiment

29 Commando Regiment is the Commando-trained unit of the British Army’s Royal Artillery. The regiment is under the operational command of 3 Commando Brigade providing artillery support and gunnery observation.

29 Commando has several batteries attached to it and it is the soldiers from 148 (Meiktila) Battery, based alongside the SBS and 1 Assault Group, Royal Marines at Poole, who will be training in California on Burmese Chase.