1 September 2015 --
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 1, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, conducted military operations in urban terrain during Large Scale Exercise 15 at Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Aug. 18.
LSE-15 is a combined U.S. Marine Corps, Canadian and British exercise conducted at the brigade level, designed to enable live, virtual and constructive training for participating forces.
The training scenario simulated a hostile area of operations in which a downed tactical vehicle was located, requiring the Marines to convoy to their objective.
The training helped improve their ability to recover tactical vehicles and identify improvised explosive devices while interacting with a local civilian population.
“Our training mostly involved urban operations and what happens in the event of encountering an IED,” said 2nd Lt. Britta Vivaldi, an acting platoon commander with the unit. “A lot of us are not familiar with that yet and we are not trained specifically to perform MOUT operations, so this is our opportunity. Our mission today was recovering a vehicle and getting through all of the obstacles that are put in our place.”
The Marines entered a village with a civilian population upset over the loss of the village elder’s son passing away. A translator helped the Marines communicate with the locals and village elder in hopes of obtaining information about any enemy and IED locations the area.
The Marines came into contact with hostile forces while interacting with the locals and, after suppressing the enemy and clearing the area, the Marines pushed through and reached a bridge within a danger zone. They swept the area with the aid of explosive ordnance disposal technicians and found an IED, which they quickly disarmed.
The Marines soon located the downed tactical vehicle and began security and recovery procedures. They set up a perimeter around the vehicle and began sweeping the area in an effort to find and remove IEDs and guard against attacks.
“The vehicle was down for an unknown length of time, so we definitely had to check for IEDs or any devices that could harm us or harm our EOD technicians,” Vivaldi said. “From there, we came into contact with civilians in the area, who were watching us.”
The Marines questioned the locals and returned them to their home, so that they could continue sweeping the vehicle. During the IED sweep of the vehicle, the Marines spotted some suspicious activity.
“One of my gunners saw two people walking and one of them definitely had a weapon,” said Sgt. Martin Diazconti, a security team leader with the unit. “We lost sight of them and, while searching the area, we took enemy fire and suppressed it.”
Once the Marines cleared the area of operations they swept the downed tactical vehicle again, removed three simulated IEDs that were found and recovered the vehicle.
When the mission was completed the Marines developed a better understanding of how to perform a MOUT and how to communicate with the locals of an area.
“Overall they did awesome.” Vivaldi said. “Everything was quick, communication was there and having EOD there with us definitely helped us accomplish our mission.”