MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS --
Marines with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, camped at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, to conduct fire and maneuver procedures against simulated enemy combatants, May 19 through 23, 2014.
The company completed morning and afternoon iterations of squad and platoon-sized raids in a Military Operations on Urban Terrain facility.
In the morning, Kilo Co. treated the patrol as a realistic scenario. When they finished, they debriefed and discussed what worked and highlighted areas that needed improvement.
“The training was good for our new guys because it gave them a chance to experience the exercise as if it were a real-life situation,” said Cpl. Parker Lawrence, squad leader, Kilo Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines, and a 22-year-old native of Jefferson City, Miss. “We sat down afterwards and talked through the scenario and went over the things we can do to make it run more smoothly.”
The Marines ran through the scenario again later after remediating specific procedures.
A squad of Marines conducted a security patrol into the MOUT site to speak to role-players acting as villagers, who called the Marines to report hostile activity from simulated aggressors in the area. During the patrol, several Marines broke away from the squad to provide overwatch of the area as guardian angels.
An interpreter was present to translate while the Marines spoke to the “villagers.” The squad continued to patrol the area and came under fire from a simulated enemy. They quickly returned fire and moved from house-to-house to eliminate threats and secure the area.
“A lot of this is all about getting our Marines to make quick, precise decisions in a high-stress environment,” Lawrence explained. “The decision may not always be right, but they made a decision. Being able to make a quick decision in the middle of a firefight is a step in the right direction, and from there we can build on it.”
When the squads concluded their scenario, the role-players reset and the Marines prepared to conduct a platoon-sized security patrol through the MOUT facility. Platoon members established their objectives and moved through the compound.
Five minutes into the scenario, the platoon came under simulated enemy fire.
“We focused on (preparing) the Marines to immediately provide suppressed fire and maneuver against the enemy quickly and efficiently,” said Sgt. Christopher Hernandez, platoon sergeant of third platoon, Kilo Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines, and a 24-year-old native of San Jose, Calif. The Marines moved through each compound, cleared the inside and posted on the roof to provide overwatch.
Although they secured the entire facility and completed their assigned objectives, the platoon suffered one simulated casualty and evacuated the area.
When the scenario ended, the platoon debriefed and noted things ran smoother than in the morning.
“When we’re in the field, (training is important),” Hernandez explained. “It’s what we need because we don’t get to train too often. It’s the perfect time for junior Marines to learn all they can from their seniors because they’ll be the ones leading their junior Marines into battle someday.”