By Gianna Messina
Twenty-three Marines from the Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Company Europe (FASTEUR) arrived at Embassy Madrid for a weeklong embassy engagement exercise, June 9. The exercise focused on interoperability training with embassy security forces, medical first responder training for embassy personnel and family members, and embassy familiarization for the FASTEUR Marines. This is the second year in a row that Embassy Madrid has organized this event, which has reinforced emergency planning and strengthened post’s ability to respond to crisis situations.
Throughout the weeklong exercise, FASTEUR, Embassy Madrid Marine Security Guards (MSGs) and regional security office (RSO) staff engaged in classroom instruction followed by tactical training throughout the embassy compound exercising their internal and external defense. The training also incorporated FASTEUR’s Navy Corpsmen, who taught emergency medical response classes of varying skill levels to the Marines, embassy personnel and family members. Additionally, the FASTEUR Marines were fully briefed on compound defense plans and embassy functions in order to expand their understanding of the embassy environment.
An embassy-wide final drill put the training to the test, simulating a complex attack with mass casualties. The realistic drill allowed the embassy to implement emergency reaction plans on a large scale, integrate security forces in a unified response and enhance the embassy’s overall emergency preparedness.
Following the training at the embassy, the Spanish National Police elite tactical unit, Grupo Especial de Operaciones, hosted FASTEUR, MSGs and RSO staff at its headquarters for a separate week of training and sharing security tactics, techniques and procedures. This bilateral training exchange fortified the Mission’s already outstanding relationship with the Spanish National Police and reinforced practical security collaboration with the unit most likely to respond to a real attack on Embassy Madrid.
Ambassador Duke Buchan congratulated the Marine elements on their realistic training, and Deputy Chief of Mission Benjamin G. Ziff noted that “The FASTEUR engagement has markedly improved our security skill set, enhanced U.S. interagency cooperation and proved to be an invaluable gateway for Spanish cooperation.”
Gianna Messina is an intern in the Regional Security Office at Embassy Madrid.