MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The Marine takes a final breath before he kicks in the door and enters the old, beaten down house full of insurgents. He points his rifle to the right and glances to the left to see an enemy insurgent lifting his gun to attack. The Marine turns to fire on the insurgent and simultaneously feels a sharp pain in his lower left side. He’d been hit, and he’s going down.
As he lies on the floor and watches his fellow Marines shoot the insurgent and clear the rest of the room, an instructor walks in and looks down to him and says, “you better be glad this wasn’t real Marine.”
Lance Cpl. William C. Michener, a field artilleryman with 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, trained at the military operations on urban terrain facility here, June 5. Michener and his battalion were trained in basic infantry tactics in an urban environment, during the five-day exercise.
“The training we do out here is basically how to survive in an urban environment,” said Michener, a St. Joe, Ark., native. “They teach us how to work together as a team and maneuver through an urban environment.”
The Marines were taught the different aspects of urban terrain and how to maneuver through it in a classroom setting during the first two days. The third day was spent patrolling through the town in four platoons made up of three, four-man fire teams each. Michener was chosen to be a fire team leader by Cpl. Sidney C. Moore, a field artilleryman and 3rd Squad leader.
“I chose Michener because of his outstanding ability to lead Marines,” said Moore, a Dracut, Mass., native. “I also spent seven months in Iraq with him, so I know he’s seen this stuff first hand.”
Michener and Moore were both deployed to forward operating base Trebil, Iraq, in March 2005. The Marines at Trebil responded to more than 20 improvised explosive devices. They went on patrols every day and conducted vehicle check-points to search for weapons and ammunition in the town.
Moore and Michener spent many hours on post, reminiscing about home and getting to know each other.
“After hours of patrols and standing post, you get to know the people around you very well,” said Michener, the youngest of eight children. “After being out there so long, you start to trust the Marines you’re surrounded by a lot more; this training helps you start to develop a trusting relationship with the Marines in your squad.”
The Marines used simulation rounds to show where the impact of the actual bullet would be while clearing the buildings on the final days of training. Simulation rounds are plastic projectiles filled with colored laundry detergent.
“The instructors give us sim rounds to give going into the buildings more of a real feel,” Michener said. “They are used to show how many casualties you would have after clearing a room.”
“The Marines are taught different situations that might happen while deployed to a forward position,” said Cpl. Joel W. Winkler, a basic urban skills training instructor. “We teach the Marines techniques on how to enter a building and clear it, whether it be through the front door, the back door or a window, the assault needs to be quick to catch the insurgents off guard.”
Winkler said the Marines are taught that speed and communication is the key to any successful operation.
“To survive in Iraq you have to be able to communicate with your fellow Marines,” Michener said. “While we’re out here, we get a feel of who’s going to freeze up and who’s going to take charge.”
Michener and the rest of the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment will be using the training they received at the MOUT training facility here, to effectively accomplish their mission while keeping each other alive during their future deployments.