FORT A.P. HILL, Va. -- Marines with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division assaulted through their training at the Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) town aboard Fort A.P. Hill, Va., during a training exercise Sept. 11.
The training allowed the battalion’s Marines to explore the highly-complex nature of urban battlefields, where every window, doorway or parked vehicle could house an unseen enemy.
“The MOUT town here is very modern and realistic, much different from the ones the Marines are typically exposed to,” said Lt. Col. Timothy R. Powledge, the battalion’s commanding officer. “The facility is also very spread out, allowing the Marines to practice their external movement techniques with squads and platoons supporting other squads and platoons.”
The MOUT town consisted of seven buildings, including mock-ups of a 5-story apartment complex, medical clinic and even a church, all of which were fully stocked and furnished as though they were part of an operational town.
“Training in this environment brings a higher level of realization to the exercises the Marines go through,” said Sgt. Jesus Garcia, the infantry training non-commissioned officer with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines. “Exposing the Marines to this MOUT facility allowed us a chance to take the Marines out of their comfort zone and apply all of their training in a realistic environment.”
Conducting training in the MOUT town is key to ensuring Marines can effectively clear different environments they may encounter. They battled their way through hallways and apartment rooms, complete with cabinets and furniture. In the streets, the Marines had to clear their way around abandoned vehicles while covering their passage from the enemy’s vantage points in windows and doorways.
Unit leadership at the lowest level was key to successfully navigating the training, noted Powledge
“While we were out here, our noncommissioned officers did a phenomenal job with engaging the training,” said Powledge. “It was great to see the NCOs lead their squad and execute the training.”
The training at Fort A.P. Hill is one of several milestones the battalion will complete as it prepares for its large Integrated Training Exercise later this year.