LAHAD DATU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The shores of Tanduo, Sabah shook amid heavy aerial and naval bombardment early Tuesday (Nov 21) as elite Malaysian and American commandos practised taking back an area in a scenario where it is seized by militants.
The simulation and demonstration exercise by Malaysia's elite sea commandos PASCAL and the US military's Green Barrets included amphibious landings, and formed part of a six-day exercise that began on Nov 16 .
The coordinated training was part of the Tiger Strike 2017 joint exercise between the Malaysian Armed Forces and the United States First Marine Corp, involving 458 men and officers.
Apart from the navy and air force, the ground forces of the Battalion 22 of the Royal Malay Regiment were joined by the 1st Marine Regiment of the United States Marine Corp (USMC) in the "assault" against the terrorists.
The aim of the exercise was to test "interoperability" between Malaysian and US forces during a joint military operation.
Both teams also tested their communications, and planning and implementing their assault capabilities.
"This exercise or training will benefit both the forces in terms of working together in counter-terrorism particularly along Sabah's east coast.
"It also provides the American marines a real feel of combating within the forest and swamp conditions in our area," Malaysian Armed Forces assistant chief staff for operations and training Major General Datuk Sheikh Mokhsin said.
USMC 1st Regiment Commander Colonel Kevin Norton was among those present during the exercise.
Tanduo was the centre of an intrusion in Feb 2013 by some 200 Muslim terrorists from the southern Philippines. Over 70 people died in the six-week standoff between Malaysia's armed forces and the armed men inspired by a Sulu sultanate's claim to Sabah.