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FORT BRAGG, N.C. ?Seaman Brian Andrade, a hospital corpsman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, treats a casualty during a counter improvised explosive device operations exercise here Dec. 9. The convoy was hit by a simulated IED as part of a 10-day urban training exercise to prepare for an upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

Motor Transport Platoon trains for combat

9 Dec 2007 | Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

The United States Marine Corps is a force in readiness. To always be ready, Marines must train realistically and successfully at all times.

 Marines with Motor Transport Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in a counter improvised explosive device operations scenario here Dec. 9.

 The scenario was part of a 10-day urban training exercise to prepare for an upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 A convoy left and returned to the staging area at a nearby range. The platoon swept the surrounding area for IED activity and radioed them in if found.

 The purpose of the training is to teach new Marines platoon tactics, techniques and procedures when a convoy is hit by an IED, said Sgt. Donovan Dukes, the motor transport platoon sergeant.

 “We have a young platoon right now so we have to start fresh and show them the basics,” Dukes said.

 The scenario followed a building block approach. The convoy hit a series of three checkpoints on the route. At checkpoint four, a role player placed an IED in a location so the Marines would see it. Marines called the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team and swept the area for any other devices.

 Dukes said it was important for him to see how the Marines reacted and what mistakes they made.

 “I would rather make a mistake here and be able to fix it then make a mistake in (Iraq),” Dukes said.

 At checkpoint five, the convoy was hit twice by separate IEDs, which allowed the platoon commander to evaluate the Marines on how efficiently they called in casualties and secured the area.

 The exercise also gave corpsmen an opportunity to train. Seaman Brian Andrade, a hospital corpsman with the Battalion, evaluated the casualties and informed the platoon of the critically injured.

 Just past checkpoint five, Dukes detonated an IED to take the convoy by surprise.

 “The purpose of the training was to bring that human element and unexpected element to the scenario,” said Sgt. Samuel Williams, a logistics chief with the battalion who played the role of an insurgent.

 Williams said the enemy is always looking for new ways to attack and the element of surprise is their greatest asset.

 At the final checkpoint, the convoy was hit again by another IED. The insurgent responsible for the attacks was spotted at this checkpoint. All the same procedures applied, but now Marines were responsible for apprehending a role player. The platoon commander evaluated the Marines on handling the role player.

 “This is something that forces Marines to deal with the things that are inconvenient as far as taking casualties or detainees,” Williams said.

 The training was successful and overall the platoon did an outstanding job, Dukes said.

 “A few guys made mistakes here and there, but that’s the way you’re going to learn,” Dukes said. “We have a lot of new Marines coming from school and they did outstanding. They’re a bunch of hard-charging devil dogs.”

 Dukes said after the Marines identified their mistakes, they adjusted and increased their proficiency.