CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Marines with 1st Platoon, Company C, 1st
Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, conducted urban operations training
at the Infantry Immersion Trainer aboard Marine Corps Base Camp
Pendleton, California, Oct. 23, 2014.
The IIT affords Marines
the opportunity to sharpen their basic combat skills by creating a
realistic combat environment aboard Camp Pendleton. Civilian role
players occupy the training town, acting as either innocent
bystanders, allied armed forces, law enforcement personnel or enemy
insurgents, most of whom don't speak English when in character.
Marines must skillfully flow through dealing with civilian or
friendly foreign nationals while maintaining combat mindsets to
guard against insurgents who actively employ small arms weapons,
rocket propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices to
prevent the infantrymen from accomplishing their mission.
Marines with 1st Platoon, Company C, 1st
Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, conduct urban operations training at
the Infantry Immersion Trainer aboard Marine Corps Base Camp
Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 24, 2014. The IIT assists Marines in
sharpening their basic combat skills by creating a realistic combat
environment. Civilian role players occupy the training town, acting
as either innocent bystanders, allied armed forces, law enforcement
personnel or enemy insurgents, most of whom don't speak English when
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Garrett White)
Second Lt. Noah Joseph, a platoon commander with Charlie
Co., explained that his Marines had been training in urban
operations during the week, honing individual, fire team,
and squad operation skills, which culminated in a
platoon-sized cordon and search exercise.
Marines' mission was to link up with local police to assist
them with locating a high-value individual and a weapons
cache within the city. Squads of infantrymen began to
maneuver throughout the small town and utilized urban
warfare tactics to search and seize any nefarious material
“What a fire team does right and
wrong dictates how the squad operates,” he said. “If one
Marine doesn't hold a sector, he can knock our platoon's
plan off the tracks.”
Once they entered the town, the
Marines went right to work putting their plan into action.
Communication was vital as they cleared rooms, hallways and
roof tops. From the pointman to the last Marines providing
rear security, everyone relayed important information as
they proceeded through the town.
provided over watch from cleared rooftops while riflemen on
the ground bounded across streets and through buildings to
search for the HVI and weapons cache. With an unknown
insurgent force in the vicinity, the Marines had to be
prepared to take contact from any window, doorway, or hole
in a wall by which they might pass.
Reyna, a platoon sergeant with Charlie Co., said his job is
to ensure his commander's intent is properly executed. To do
this he made sure his squad leaders were keeping their
Marines technically and tactically proficient.
priority is to focus on the attitude of the Marines,” Reyna
said. “If I can keep my squad leaders with the right mental
attitude on their mission, then fire team leaders should
want to emulate that, which should trickle down to each
individual Marine. What you wind up with is the platoon all
focused on the same goal.”
Aiding them in achieving
this goal were the instructors, role-players and facilities
of the IIT. Role-playing insurgents fire blank ammunition,
simulated RPGs and utilized mock IEDs to prevent the
infantrymen from proceeding through the town. Instructors
observing the engagements identified Marines as casualties
based on how the unit reacted to situations they were
What the Marines experienced during their
time in the IIT mirrored realistic combat scenarios and
incorporated the violence and chaos of actual combat, only
short of using live ammunition and explosives.
reason the IIT is a great training tool is because the role
players add an unknown element to the mix,” said Reyna.
“It's not like training against members of your own company
where you usually know the lance corporal you are up
Over the course of the four days of
training at the IIT, the Charlie Co. Marines built upon and
refined their urban warfare skills. Working as a cohesive
unit, they were able to apply these skills in a realistic
training environment to successfully accomplish their
mission. The end result was a company of Marines more
combat-ready than before, further strengthening the Marine
Corps as the world premier fighting force.
By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Garrett White
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