MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Music fills the air as Afghanis navigate the market place and a patrol of Marines make their way through the city; suddenly an explosion rings out and the market fills with screams of men and women trying to help the wounded.
This is the scene Marines of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, came across during their Counter-Improvised Explosive Device training at the Military Operations on Urban Terrain Training Center, aboard Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 24, 2010.
“This is fantastic … it’s some of the best training I’ve ever seen,” said 1st LT. Peter Carothers, platoon commander for 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Bn, 8th Marines.
The Marines’ training consisted of counter IED education on individual preparedness in an IED environment and a small unit leader’s consideration for movement in an IED environment. The lectures were followed by practical application exercises ending with a patrol where they dealt with real life scenarios, according to Chad Roark, Marine Corps Engineer Center Mobile Training Cadre East site lead.
“We have real afghan role players which make this training fantastic; this is probably some of the most realistic training that these guys will get besides actually doing combat operations in country, so it’s simply phenomenal,” said Roark.
The Marines going through the training feel the more realistic the training the more they learn from it.
“This is probably the most important training we can do. In my three deployments I’ve always done MOUT sweeping and patrolling. Also, having to deal with the role players in the scenarios made this training so much more realistic; for my Marines under me and for myself this training is great,” said Sgt. Rafael Sosa, squad leader with 2nd Platoon, 1st Bn, 8th Marines, Company B.
In their time at the MOUT training center, the Marines are taught how to spot and deal with possible IED threats and patrol through an Afghani city, but the real lesion they learn is how to prevent the loss of life.
“This training is extremely important. We’re definitely in the business of saving lives. If Marines were to go into country blind and not know how to defeat the IED threat … it could be catastrophic for a unit,” explained Roark.
After this stepping stone on their journey to conducting skillful combat operations, the Marines continue to train for proficiency and look toward completing a successful and safe deployment to Afghanistan.