MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
A Marine patrol moved cautiously down the street, eyes scanning, with their hands on their weapons, ready for anything. Their mission was to contact the local sheik and establish a friendly relationship. As they moved down the crowded street a silhouette appeared on a nearby rooftop. A primal scream rang out followed by the bang of a rocket-propelled grenade.
The scream alerted the Marines who reacted to the danger above them. They sought cover and began securing the nearby area. The squad moved as a whole, but it was the individual actions of the Marines from 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, that determined the outcome of the day.
Marines from the “Destroyer” battalion conducted predeployment training at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility here Dec. 12. They left their LAV-25 light armored vehicles behind and patrolled on foot while they focused on individual actions and small unit leadership.
“Individual actions are a big thing - especially for the new guys that haven’t been in this environment yet,” said Lance Cpl. William H. Conn, an LAV crewman with Company A, 2nd LAR. “Here you have civilians you have to interact with and the rules of engagement come into play.”
To be successful in a MOUT environment, every Marine must think and pay attention to detail. Every stick, stone, wire or window must be inspected for danger continuously.
“Everybody’s a thinker,” Conn said. “I might not see something, but the Marine behind me could say, ‘Hey there’s an (improvised explosive device) there.’”
The dozens of Iraqi role players forced the Marines to pay attention to detail and made the training extremely realistic.
“(The training) is really good. It’s an eye opener,” said Pfc. Joseph M. Graziano, a crewman with Co. A. “I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s more realistic than any training we’ve ever done.”
The training served as a valuable tool for all the Marines whether they had deployed before or not.
“I learned a few things today and I’m sure everyone else did too,” said Conn. “If I go down, it could be a (private first class) picking up the team, and he’s got to be able to step up. The situation is always changing rapidly.”
The squad accomplished their mission by incorporating everything required of them. They contacted the sheik, who pointed out the location of the RPG gunner. The squad took advantage of the intelligence and assaulted the enemy position, resulting in a victory.