Photo Information

MARCH AIR FORCE RESERVE BASE, Calif. - Marines with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment provide security during urban assault training here July 24. The battalion participating in Stability and Security Operations training to prepare them for whatever they might encounter in the upcoming deployment to Iraq.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Michael R. McMaugh

3/1 Weapons Co. trains with new name

2 Aug 2005 | Cpl. Adam C. Schnell

Smoke filled the air and M-16 simulation rounds whizzed through broken windows as Marines with Mobile Assault Co., 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment performed urban assaults here July 23. Mobile Assault Co., formerly known as Weapons Co., worked on their urban warfare skills as they fought from house to house in the abandoned buildings of the former March Air Force Reserve Base family housing. The housing area, in addition to active-duty Marines acting as Iraqi insurgents provided an ideal environment for the Marines here to practice for upcoming operations in Iraq. “This was really realistic training,” said Lance Cpl. Lamont Scott, a team leader with Mobile Assault Co. and Carpentersville, Ill. native. “The mouse holes in the walls and hiding places in the rooms are just like the ones in Iraq.” One of the primary focuses of Stability and Security Operations training is urban assaults, something the battalion expects to be tasked with regularly while deployed. “The Marines that haven’t been to Iraq before need the skills to operate in an urban environment,” said 1st Lt. John L. Jacobs, mobile assault platoon commander and Santa Cruz, Calif. native. “This training really helps them to understand how easy it is to get hit and how to engage the enemy.” As the Marines received classes on room clearing and different techniques to operate in the urban environment, the instructors and role players set up a course where Marines used paintball rounds in their weapons to assault three different insurgent strongholds. “We just want to give them a place to practice their techniques so they are better prepared for Iraq,” said Cpl. Stephan A. Hibert, an Urban Warfare Training Center instructor and Cherry Hill, N.J. native. “We just want to throw reminders out there and have them better their own SOP’s (standard operating procedures) rather than teach them ours.” The Marines cautiously cleared rooms in each building as they fought insurgents and learned how to integrate teams and work together to destroy the enemy. Small unit leadership from the Non-Commissioned Officers and team leaders lead to the success of the training evolution, commented Hibert. “Small unit leadership is the most necessary part of urban assaulting,” explained Hibert. “We let the NCOs do all the work because it’s them, not the officers or staff NCOs, that make decisions in urban assaulting that keep their Marines alive.” The exercise is part of a 20-day training evolution here and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, Calif. designed to help Marines improve their urban patrolling skills, how to deal with improvised explosive devices, set-up vehicle checkpoints and to familiarize them with firing numerous weapons systems. After several weeks of training, these Marines will be ready for their seven-month deployment to the western part of Iraq. “With the majority of Iraq being an urban environment, this training is vital for these Marines,” said Jacobs. “After all this they will be ready for anything thrown at them.”