DILI, Timor Leste - The Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group (PEL ARG) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Dili, Timor-Leste for the start of Exercise Crocodilo with the Timor-Leste Defense Forces Oct. 10.
The PELARG consists of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
Throughout the exercise, Sailors and Marines will participate in various events, to include field exercises and community relations activities aimed at strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Timor-Leste. Each ship will participate in community service events, conduct engineering and seamanship training with sailors from the Timor-Leste Navy and provide tours of all three ships in the ARG.
"This exercise presents a valuable opportunity to further strengthen the already strong relationship between the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and the Timor-Leste Defense Force," said Capt. Mark Sakaguchi, commander, Amphibious Squadron Three. "Visits like these are vital toward developing and strengthening relationships with regional partners.
Marines and Timor-Leste soldiers will conduct military police training, various small boat exercises, jungle warfare training, several aviation-related evolutions and numerous planning scenarios. The ARG-MEU team is also scheduled to offer medical and dental assistance to the local populace, as well as participate in the construction and sustainment of local infrastructure.
"Training alongside the Defense Forces creates a great opportunity to share knowledge, establish personal and professional relationships, and strengthen our military and civil partnership with Timor-Leste," said Col. Scott D. Campbell, commanding officer, 15th MEU. "Events like Crocodilo allow us to improve Pacific security, an interest for the United States and our partners in the region."
While in port, Sailors and Marines will also have the opportunity to experience the local culture in the capital, Dili through goodwill engagement.
"This is my second visit to Timor-Leste," said Engineman 1st Class Colin Cumberbatch. "I look forward to learning more about the history and culture of this nation. Timor-Leste has seen so many changes in such a short time which personally makes it more appealing."
Added Sgt. Fernado Picazo, "This port visit will be interesting for me because it's a country I have not been to before. I'm also excited for this opportunity because I may never be able to experience this again."