Clearing rooms with tank crew

21 Sep 2006 | Pfc. Joseph D. Day

The seemingly quite town was soon disrupted by the sound of the rolling tracks of tanks.  The tanks approaching come to a halt just out side the city.  Tank crewmen from 2nd tank battalion, 2nd Marine Division, dismount and prepare themselves to search out enemy forces and regain control of this little Iraqi village.

On Wednesday, July 17, Lance Cpl. Ramon L. Clark, a tank driver, 2nd platoon, Company C, went through military operations in urban terrain training.

Clark said he has never gone through MOUT training before and feels that this training will help in his upcoming deployment.  “Even though I am a tank driver I know that more and more of us are being sent into towns to clear them out.”

Clark slowly climbed out of the tank, with his rifle in hand and headed toward the inner city.  His head on a swivel Clark looked around the city searching for any foe that may present itself.

“It is challenging to me as I go through the village because there is so much for me to do,” said Clark a Jersey City, New Jersey native.  “I have to be aware of everything that is going on around me, watch my partners back, and make sure I am covering myself.”

Clark and his team heard something in a building directly to their right.  Clark and his good friend and fellow Marine Pfc. David Testilia Delu, a tank gunmen loader, prepared to enter the building.  Delu in front of Clark took a deep breath closed his eyes and exhaled.  Clark tapped Delu on the shoulder and they busted in the door.

“There wasn’t a doubt in my mind, I knew that Clark would be behind me the whole way,” said Delu.  “My focus wasn’t on what he would be doing because I know he was trained well enough to do his job and cover me.”

They entered the room, with Delu curling around the doorway, and Clark heading straight in and toward the right corner of the room.  The immediate room was clear they signaled each other that the room was clear and awaited more Marines to enter the room so they could proceed through the rest of the building.

“When I was about to enter the room I was really nervous, thinking about all the training they gave me,” said Clark.  “I gave the signal to Delu, and we entered the room.  My heart was racing and I wasn’t quite sure of what was going to happen, but my training just went to work.”

This was just a training simulation for the two Marines who entered the building that hot summer day, but they now know what is expected of them as they clear houses in Iraq.

Clark has never gone through this training before.  He now has the knowledge to be
able to affectively clear rooms and search houses with the other Marines of 2nd Tank Battalion.

“It was difficult to do, but I did it,” said Clark.  “Now I’ve been through it with my unit, I feel confident that I will be able to do it when I deploy to Iraq.”