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'Lava Dogs' splash, assault at MCTAB Cpl. Matthew Bragg

A Marine with first platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment marches through the tree line to a military operations on urban terrain compound during a platoon-sized amphibious assault at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, Nov. 19, 2013. The battalion-level training exercise focused on helping Marines be mentally prepared to face the enemy in any environment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg)

MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS, Hawaii - Marines with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment got their boots dirty with ample amounts of training at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Nov. 18, 2013 through Nov. 22.

The three companies training rotated through the week while two companies actively trained and the other company conducted classes for a day.

Marines boarded amphibious assault vehicles to conduct a splash exercise for the battalion-level training. After spending 15 minutes in the ocean, the AAVs returned to land and unloaded Marines in the tree line across a military operations on urban terrain compound.

The Marines quickly patrolled through the vegetation as they made their way to the street and rushed behind cover to begin their assault on the MOUT facility.

“It’s a good building block to help mentally prepare the new guys for future training,” said Lance Cpl. Zoilo Umanzor, a team leader with first platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, and 20-year-old native of Port Chester, N.Y. “When they’re going from building-to-building, they’re not going to have time to think — they just have to act. These MOUT compounds are good for that type of training.”

The exercise was conducted more than once with a different platoon of Marines assaulting the compound each time. The different platoons had to overcome unexpected challenges, such as rescuing a Marine who had been “shot” or extracting information from the enemy.

“We’re focusing on platoon mechanized attacks,” said 1st Lt. Paul Cammarota, weapons platoon commander, Charlie Co., 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, and a native of Long Island, N.Y. “We’re conducting a lot of MOUT tactics for the Marines. If they can attack a MOUT compound successfully, then they can do offensive operations just about anywhere.”

During the amphibious assault exercises, each platoon was provided support from simulated mortar teams and a Combined Anti-Armor Team. The key to success was the platoon’s ability to utilize the support groups to give them the advantage against the enemy.

“One thing we’re doing differently is providing platoon commanders and platoon sergeants with fire support coordinators early on to incorporate in training,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dewayne Roper, company gunnery sergeant, Charlie Co., 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, and a 32-year-old native of Capitol Heights, Md. “The coordinators work all the way down to small unit leadership with the lance corporals and (private first classes).”

The fire support coordinators followed each platoon as they advanced through the MOUT compound and took note of improvements and deficiencies. After each exercise was completed, the Marines were debriefed and discussed plans to correct their mistakes next time around.

To increase the difficulty of the training, Marines not participating in the amphibious assault role-played as opposing forces in the MOUT compound.

“The OPFOR makes the training more realistic and trains the Marines to stop using their imagination,” Cammarota explained. “Once they’re hit, they go down and they stay down. It lets them realize how costly their mistakes would be on the battlefield.”

Once the Marines became familiar with completing the amphibious assault during the day, they conducted night operations and similar training exercises.

“We’re remediating on skills the Marines already know, and we’re adding on to that,” Roper said. “Building on from what they’ve already learned, their hard work will pay dividends later down the road."


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Public Domain Mark
This work, 'Lava Dogs' splash, assault at MCTAB, by Cpl Matthew Bragg, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:11.22.2013

Date Posted:11.22.2013 16:04

Location:MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS, HI, USGlobe

Hometown:CAPITOL HEIGHTS, MD, US

Hometown:LONG ISLAND, NY, US

Hometown:PORT CHESTER, NY, US

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