MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
“Set!” yells the fire team leader as he waits outside a doorway, rifle at the ready position. The Marine behind him grabs his shoulder and gives the command, “Go!” The 4-man team rushes into the room.
Marines from 1st Platoon, Military Police Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, trained for Military Operations in Urban Terrain at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 25. The Marines practiced clearing buildings, breaching doors, procedures when finding weapon caches, detaining and handling enemy prisoners of war and setting casualty collection points.
The training area, commonly known as a “MOUT town,” tested the Marines’ knowledge and skills on operations in austere areas like Afghanistan. The range portrays how an urban battlefield may look in a combat operation, complete with salvaged cars, mailboxes, street signs and gas stations.
Each building is designed differently to allow an unpredictable layout that Marines would normally experience in MOUT. The rooms are filled with distracting elements such as furniture, holes in the walls and open ceilings.
“This was the first time the Marines have trained together as a new platoon,” said Staff Sgt. Stacy N. Roman, platoon sergeant, 1st Platoon, MP Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG. “The training today has helped build unit cohesion and teamwork skills that the Marines will have to apply when they’re deployed.”
The majority of the Marines have a basic understanding of MOUT, but this training brought them together and allowed them to build on what they’ve learned and fix their mistakes for when it really counts, said Roman.
MOUT can be more dangerous than the open battlefield. Marines have the possibility of close-quarter combat that puts them face-to-face with danger. It requires Marines to be extra cautious and aware of their environment. The terrain gives enemy combatants the upper hand. It allows a greater possibility for “booby-traps” and concealment of the enemy. Evacuation of casualties also can become difficult without the support of motor transport and aircraft.
The platoon learned and sustained the basics of MOUT in preparation for the Infantry Immersion Trainer slated for next week. The trainer is designed to immerse a platoon into a simulated environment of combat, said 2nd Lt. Elisha Woienski, platoon commander, 1st Platoon, MP Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG.
“It’s important for Marines to sustain their training,” said Woienski. “In the military police field, it’s hard to know when the Marines will be called upon for a mission.”
Apart from the sustainment of training, the Marines of 1st Platoon enjoyed their experience in the MOUT town.
“It was good training. I felt that the hands-on experience was more enjoyable than the classes we took,” said Lance Cpl. Martin J. Kim, military policeman, 1st Platoon, MP Co., CLR-17, 1st MLG. “It’s good for the Marines that have never deployed to learn the basic fundamentals of MOUT. Next time, they will have the experience and knowledge that they will need.”