News: Training culminates with combat scenarios
By Lance Cpl. Richard Blumenstein
III Marine Expeditionary Force PAO
CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan - Nearly 70 III Marine Expeditionary Force Marines and Sailors were put to the test on the final day of a month-long pre-deployment training evolution on Camp Schwab March 28.
Instructors from 4th Marine Regiment's Regimental School put the service members through an elaborate final evolution, testing their ability to respond to combat scenarios similar to those they could face in Iraq.
The Marines participated in the scenarios without guidance from instructors and had to demonstrate their ability to apply lessons learned.
"Today, it's all on them," said Sgt. Chris E. Unger, the chief instructor of urban operations with the 4th Marines Regimental School, 3rd Marine Division. "We're not going to stop them if they do something wrong."
The service members formed into squads and rotated between four stations. At each station they encountered role players acting as enemy aggressors. The Marines, Sailors and aggressors used blank rounds and Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement Systems, commonly referred to as MILES gear, to make the training more realistic. MILES gear is similar to an advanced form of laser tag.
The scenarios presented the service members with diverse obstacles and mission objectives, forcing them to respond to the aggressors in a number of different ways, according to Staff Sgt. Ronald M. Solomon, the Pre-deployment Training Program staff non-commissioned officer-in-charge with the Regimental School.
"We taught them the best way of handling the situations put in front of them," Solomon said.
Potential enemies brandishing or concealing weapons walked or drove up to the service members during the scenarios, and the trainees applied escalation of force procedures to disarm enemies or eliminate eminent threats.
"The training was realistic," said Pfc. Anthonio T. Hardin, a motor vehicle operator with Truck Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3rd MarDiv.
At the vehicle and entry control checkpoint stations, the trainees set up blockades and barbed wire to deter enemy forces. During the checkpoint scenarios, they faced vehicle-borne improvised explosive devises and enemy raids.
The Marines and Sailors also conducted patrols. After they received a brief about possible enemy threats and mission objectives, they walked the streets of the camp looking for aggressors. When patrols or checkpoints were overwhelmed by aggressors or the trainees sustained casualties, they called in a Quick Reaction Force.
Marines at the reaction force station conducted casualty evacuations and provided more firepower with crew-served weapons on humvees.
The reaction force also had to locate enemy personnel and fight aggressors on rooftops while encountering IEDs along the roadside.
At the end of the training, the Marines received a critique from their instructors. Unger said after a month of training, the final evolution went smoothly.
Date Posted:04.10.2007 09:34
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