News: Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel train in urban warfare
Story by Cpl. John Robbart III
ARTA BEACH, Djibouti – The unit who would be called upon to rescue downed pilots or aircraft practiced military operations in urban terrain, Feb. 10.
The 81mm Mortars/Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel Platoon with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, practiced military operations in an urban setting during the 15th MEU’s sustainment training, designed to increase unit cohesion and refine tactics, techniques and procedures, while taking advantage of a unique opportunity to train in a foreign country.
“Today, the platoon is practicing moving in an urban environment,” said Capt. Micheal A. Dorsey, platoon commander, 81mm Mortars/TRAP Platoon, Weapons Company, BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “It’s relevant because we could operate in this type of environment in both mortars or a TRAP capacity,” added the 28-year-old native of Portland, Ore.
The range consists of a few old buildings on Arta Beach. They are missing windows, doors and roofs. The unfamiliar environment proved to be helpful in training the grunts in urban operations.
“We practiced some of these types of operations on ship in the hangar bay,” said Lance Cpl. Derek S. McGee, mortarman, 81mm Mortars/TRAP Platoon, Weapons Company, BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “This provided us with a more realistic training opportunity. It was motivating, and I learned some new tricks of the trade,” added the 19-year-old native of Winnetka, Ill.
The training moved in a crawl, walk and run sequence. The crawl portion started with a class on MOUT by Cpl. Dillion M. Coolidge, one of the platoon’s squad leaders.
“I started with a class and then walked the Marines through and pointed out some common mistakes,” said Coolidge, 22, a native of Las Vegas.
After walking the infantrymen through the objectives, they were ready to begin the run portion of the training.
“This training was really important because we need to stay sharp on our infantry skills,” said Staff Sgt. Clinton W. Thoman, section leader, TRAP, 81mm Mortars/TRAP Platoon, Weapons Company, BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “This platoon can be called upon to conduct a variety of missions, such as TRAP, support through indirect fire or as a provisional rifle platoon,” added the 37-year-old native of Denver, Colo.
The training also allowed the Marines to practice fire and maneuver, as they set up a support-by-fire position in support of Marines tasked to secure the buildings.
“I really think the Marines got some good training out of it,” said Coolidge. “They were able to learn some advanced infantry tactics that they didn’t learn at the School of Infantry.”
The 15th MEU is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.