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Spanish, Portuguese, U.S. Marines unite for APS Nashville
One Portuguese and five Spanish Marines joined U.S. Marines aboard USS Nashville (LPD 13) while in port at Rota, Spain, to take part in Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville, February 3, 2009. <br /> <br />They joined a mission that brings
One Portuguese and five Spanish Marines joined U.S. Marines aboard USS Nashville (LPD 13) while in port at Rota, Spain, to take part in Africa Partnership Station (APS) Nashville, February 3, 2009.

They joined a mission that brings together not only U.S. and African security forces, but several other countries as well. The United States, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Denmark and France are all contributing to planning, logistics and observation on the APS deployment.

This cultural melting pot gives everyone the chance to teach and learn from one another. This exchange is happening each day between the Marines.

"I expect many things from this exercise with U.S. Marines," said Staff Sergeant Alejandro Martin, infantryman, Amphibious Brigade, Spanish Marine Corps. "I hope I can learn a lot and can show all the things I know and learn in my country."

The Spanish, Portuguese, and U.S. Marines have exchanged techniques regarding both marksmanship and martial arts skills, and realized many of their techniques were similar.

"It's a possibility to modify things we have done," said Private Daniel Moral, communications operator, Amphibious Brigade, Spanish Marine Corps. "We can see a better way to do things, so that we can improve our skills. We can keep going further to be the best at martial arts. This other country does the same thing but another way. We can get the best part of each other and unify it."

The interaction between the countries was a good introduction into the challenges a language barrier can bring to teaching host nation security forces, said Staff Sergeant Jason W. Elsdon, advisor, Marine Advisor Team (MAT), Marine Forces Africa (MARFORAF).

"You just have to demonstrate more and take your time when instructing," Elsdon said. "You have to have more leeway with your instruction. It's going to take longer because they don't know exactly what you're saying to them. But by showing them over and over again you can overcome the barrier."

According to Sergeant Abel Jorge, platoon commander, Portuguese Marine Corps, the eagerness to interact and learn about another culture and their techniques is felt between all these Marines. They will all work together during this initiative in different capacities, but the goal to share their knowledge with the African security forces is the same, he said.

"It's good for me to help others and to learn and comprehend another people, another culture," said Jorge.
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