News: CLB-5 Marines train in Mobile Immersion Trainer
Story by Pfc. Timothy Childers
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The Marines of Company E, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, trained in the Mobile Immersion Trainer here, Dec. 9. The Mobile Immersion Trainer simulates real-life scenarios Marines may encounter while conducting a combat logistics patrol.
The MIT better prepares Marines how to act and react while operating vehicles and is similar to the Infantry Immersion Trainer, where Marines learn to operate under stressful conditions and work with the local populace. Some of the scenarios of the MIT include recovering downed vehicles from the result of an improvised explosive device, evacuating civilian casualties, conducting resupply missions and handling ambushes from enemy combatants. All of the scenarios are based off of real combat logistics patrol experiences and are designed to challenge the Marines.
The first mission Company E received was recovering a downed vehicle. Before they could begin to recover the vehicle, the Marines needed to secure the location. With the use of a hand-held mine detector, a Marine swept the vicinity of the wreckage for secondary IEDs. Once a possible IED was detected, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was called in to confirm and clear any other IEDs.
After the area was secured, a vehicle recovery team attached the vehicle to a winch. Under the patrol’s security, the team successfully pulled the downed vehicle from the ditch, where it could be taken back to the forward operating base for repairs.
The second scenario was an evacuation of a civilian casualty. As the patrol rolled into one of the mock towns in the MIT, they were stopped by a civilian vehicle and a group of role-players acting as the local populace. In the vehicle was a casualty of an IED that needed immediate medical aid. It was the patrol’s job to evacuate the casualty back to the FOB for medical treatment.
The Marines had to deal personally with the local populace, trying to control the crowd as they evacuated the casualty without upsetting them. They used an interpreter and what Pashto phrases the Marines already knew to create a level of understanding between the troops and the villagers. Without incident, the Marines successfully evacuated the casualty and brought him back to the FOB.
“It’s important for us to receive training on how to complete the mission, repel the enemy and preserve the hearts and minds of the civilian populace,” said 2nd Lt. Christopher S. Sheckel, platoon commander, 3rd Platoon, Company A, CLB-5, CLR-1, 1st MLG. “This is an exercise of cultural sensitivity.”
While the Marines completed each scenario, they were evaluated by Combat Skills Instructors on their performance. At the end of the training event, the instructors reviewed with the troops by pointing out their weak and strong points.
“I believe they have a good base to build upon,” said Sgt. Juan A. Salazar, combat skills instructor, 1st MLG. “This is their first step. If they continue to train by the time they deploy, they will be good to go.”
The unit has shown good communication throughout the exercise. They did a great job of posting security and accomplished both scenarios quickly and without incident. From here, they will progress and be better equipped for tasks in the future, said Salazar.
The Marines feel they have benefited from the MIT and are one step closer to deploying.
“I’ve learned a lot from this training,” said Pfc. Susan J. Cantrel, motor transportation operator, Company E, CLB-5, CLR-1, 1st MLG. “It’s helping us prepare for the deployment next year. I feel more confident after the training today.”
The time left for training is decreasing as the deployment comes closer. It’s important that the Marines are well prepared before they go to Afghanistan, said Sheckel.
“The Marines performed very well,” said Sheckel, “It’s been a valuable training experience, some of the most valuable training so far leading up to our deployment. I would definitely recommend it for any unit.”