MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines in search of a weapons cache entered a dark, cool building with weapons ready to fire, remaining vigilant while seeking their objective. Upon finding the objective, they unleashed a steady stream of fire, forcing the defending enemy to surrender.
Forty-five Marines with 6th Platoon, 1st Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Company, participated in a platoon-sized unit training operation at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility here Sept. 10-17.
The Camp Allen, Va.-based unit chose MOUT town because of the facility’s size and its similarities to urban areas in the Middle East.
“MOUT town is large enough to include motorized operations, and the new addition of mobile MOUT town allows you to move from one environment to another,” said Capt. Devin R. Blowes, the platoon commander. “It also gives us the ability to fast- rope or land on rooftops. This is one of the very few places where you can rehearse and implement (rooftop clearings) that we preach and talk about all of the time.”
The Marines covered many techniques and tactics but emphasized the basic fundamentals.
“The biggest thing is just making sure everything is secure and every angle is covered, because the threat can come from anywhere,” said Lance Cpl. Derrick A. Jones, a team leader with 1st Squad.
The intense training not only focused on the physical aspect but also the mental aspect. The Marines had little time to rest and modest amounts of food.
“We do patrols for four hours, then we eat, and we go back out again,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan T. Tillotson, a machine gunner with the platoon. “Yesterday, we didn’t sleep at all.”
Despite being tired, hot and hungry, the warriors attacked the training because of the motivation they received from each other.
“You have to have the moral courage to stand there for the Marine to the left and to the right of you,” Jones said. “He’s just as hot, just as tired and just as hungry, and if you give up, then you’re giving up on the Marine to the left and right of you. You don’t worry about yourself, you worry about your Marines.”
The Marines are training now in order to better prepare for urban combat situations while on future deployments.
“It’s going to carry over well (to future missions) because everybody’s going to know what to do,” Jones said. “We’re taking in the information, we’re learning it and we’re all putting in our input, and it’s helping.”
The Marines’ bond in the platoon has been strengthened through such intensive training together.
“We’ve become a lot closer because when you’re out here, it’s not about you, it’s about everybody else,” Jones said. “When we’re out doing patrols, it’s unity because everybody knows it’s game time and the mission is on.”
Although the platoon trains regularly, it was the Marines’ first time exercising at MOUT town as a unit.
“This is actually our first time operating in an urban environment like MOUT town,” Blowes said. “We’ll have maybe one or two more times where they’re involved in larger-scale operations.”
The Marines now have the extra knowledge and experience to make future missions successful.
“We never know what our mission is going to be, other than to be ready for whatever they may need us for,” Blowes said.