MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Four Marines lined up against a wall as the pointman quickly scanned the immediate area for signs of danger. A quickly spoken order to run was given and the Marines charged across the street with rifles aimed at all possible hiding points. They made it across safely and pushed themselves against a wall as they prepared to rush through a broken door in hopes of clearing out any enemy who may be waiting inside.
For Pfc. Jeremy Alequin, this is another day of training as his schedule becomes packed with exercises while preparing for his future deployment.
"The training here is awesome," said the rifleman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. "I feel like it is getting us where we need to be. It is preparing us for what is to come."
The exercise started out with a patrolling maneuver through the ghostly town where Marines conduct Military Operations in Urban Terrain training.
The troops began slowly walking down a winding dirt road where attacks had been reported. Alequin served as the pointman for the patrol and moved cautiously while glancing behind him every few seconds to assure everyone was still moving.
"Right now, we are working on patrolling through cities," he said. "The streets are narrow here, so it is somewhat difficult compared to what we are used to."
The Marines dispersed short distances from each other to cover more ground and Alequin began to slow down as he neared a small tunnel entrance cutting through the buildings.
"Opening to the right," a Marine behind him shouted.
Alequin crossed the opening while panning his rifle through the area until he made it to the next set of buildings. He picked up the pace again while still being careful to not lose anyone.
A small burst of shots was heard as two Marines following Alequin went down. Immediately, a sniper was seen on a balcony overlooking the small path they were patrolling. Gunfire rang out in response, but the insurgent had already run back into the building.
It was time to move into place as Marines from everywhere concentrated their movements to the building. The Marines ran quickly and lined up against the wall as they prepared to rush in.
Alequin and his fellow Marines stood ready while the surrounding teams took their places at various points around an old, white building. The troops received the report of sniper fire and had already set up security in the area .
"Improvised explosive devices are the biggest threat we are facing," Alequin said. "They have been incorporating them in our training heavily."
As the team provided cover, a fire team focusing on a different entrance gave the command and kicked the door in. They moved quickly through the rooms and found themselves at a dead end with a cracked window and an old file cabinet in the corner.
They began to leave when a loud blast was heard and the entire first floor was filled with blinding grey smoke. They had been hit with an IED planted by a team of insurgents in the area.
After the blast, Alequin rushed in and pulled the casualties out of the room while trying to get out before any other possible traps were set off.
As Alequin's tem worked to get the wounded to safety, others ran up the metal fire escape attached to the building, assembled against the wall, and rushed in the door on the second floor.
Alequin's team, having already gotten the injured troops to safety, then rushed up the stairs to give support to the assaulting fire team.
Shots were heard as footsteps became louder until the floor was cleared of any enemy in the area.
"Floor clear," shouted one of the Marines. "Two guys down."
Their mission was accomplished. The Marines came walked out of the building, still leaking smoke from the explosion going off, and gathered in the courtyard for their debriefing.
"The tactics we are using right now are definately needed," Alequin said. "This is only the first step in the list of things we still have to learn, and I plan to take it all in."
The training was over for the day and the Marines returned to the formation of tents resting in a field nearby. The job was well done, but more exercises were to come as they rested before getting up the next morning and doing it all over again.