MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- “We have a hitchhiker!” shouted a Marine from the front tasked with the imminent duty of checking for possible improvised explosive devices before the patrol initiates a blast.
The hitchhiker, Charlie Company's brevity code for an IED, was a 155mm artillery round disguised among the sparse grass.
While the patrol came to a halt, the nearest Marine identified a pressure plate and performed the 5 C’s of IED detection; confirming the presence of an IED, clearing the area, calling it in to the command operations center and calling for support from explosive ordinance disposal technicians, cordoning it off and controlling the situation.
Marines with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, conducted multiple patrols to practice their skills locating IEDs at an urban training town aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 22, 2015.
“Today we are getting into the basics of military operations on urban terrain training,” said 1st Lt. Phillip Jones, the executive officer of Charlie Co. “Recently we’ve gotten some Marines coming straight from the School of Infantry. Our squad leaders and team leaders have this opportunity to teach those new Marines their squad operating procedures, as well as the tactics, techniques, and procedures that they need to be able to utilize in complex situations.”
During the humid day, the Marines kept their heads on a swivel, constantly observing the areas around them as they patrolled through the village. Upon approaching buildings, they formed tight, single-file lines against a wall and cleared the adjacent openings. As they advanced through their patrols, they came face-to-face with role-playing enemies, and laid down suppressive fire with simulated rounds.
Occasionally, the Marines came across those enemies as well as an unexpected IED, said Pfc. John J. Lynady, an automatic rifleman with the company.
“This training evaluates how well we can combine and react to enemy encounters and the threat of an IED,” said Lynady, a native of Richmondale, Pennsylvania. “Some of us were working with our corpsmen to evacuate and treat any injured Marines while the rest of the squad provided security and suppressed the enemy.”
This training focused on showing the Marines that little things lead to big things, said Jones, a native of Hampton Virginia. From small tasks, such as clearing a window, to large tasks, such as properly aiding a fellow Marine who is wounded, each step in an event is important in reaching the overall mission accomplishment.
“We are doing very well out here,” Jones said. “We have professional pride in 1/8. By doing even the smallest things the right way, such as clearing rooms or conducting the 5 C’s, we will be able to accomplish our mission much more effectively.”
Jones expressed confidence in the training his Marines received.
“Part of the fundamentals of being an infantryman is to be able to go anywhere at any time,” Jones said. “This training is important to us as infantrymen because in our future conflicts, we need to be able to fight and win in an urban environment. The highest casualty battles have been fought in urban terrain, and 1/8 will be trained in that before we deploy.”
This training and the culminating training events from previous live-fire ranges and platoon size exercises, is building the company’s readiness for the upcoming deployment. By maintaining readiness and preparing for the future, Charlie Company upholds the professionalism and standards expected of them from 1/8, and is ready to go anywhere at any time to accomplish their mission.