News: There goes the neighborhood
Story by Lance Cpl. Scott Whiting
YUMA PROVING GROUNDS, Arizona - After a rigorous week of field training, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, kicked off Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course with military operations in urban terrain training April 8, 2013, aboard a Yuma Proving Grounds MOUT town in Arizona.
Wasting no daylight, Company A, 1st Bn, 6th Marines, began training as soon as they arrived at the MOUT town.
“MOUT training is definitely something we need to be capable of and prepared to do,” said 2nd Lt. Eric Anderson, the 2nd Platoon commander for Company A. “We were practicing platoon and company level attacks earlier, and being able to apply those fundamentals to urban training is something we needed to practice. It felt good to get out and utilize the various villages out here.”
The company spent two days at a very basic MOUT town. Even spacing between buildings and repetitive basic interior layouts helped the Marines learn the basics of urban training.
“We’ve only had some of our Marines since December, and this is the first time outside of [Infantry Training Battalion] doing any type of MOUT training for a lot of them,” said Staff Sgt. Alexis Padilla, the 2nd platoon sergeant for Company A. “It’s real new to them, and they are excited to get into houses, clear rooms and patrol in an urban environment.”
The sound of doors being kicked in, commands being yelled and rifles firing blank rounds at simulated hostiles could be heard all over the town as Marines quickly grasped the concept.
The Company saddled up early on April 10 and convoyed to a different MOUT town, known as K-9 village, because of police dog training which also takes place there. This town posed a new challenge to the company. The buildings were not symmetrical, roads were windy and there was a large amount of debris scattered all over the roads.
“K-9 village has a different atmosphere to it,” said Anderson. “Helicopter and car parts were everywhere, along with various compounds spread about. Things like that helped us practice our tactics in a different type of town. The Marines liked it a lot and enjoyed getting out there.”
The Camp Lejeune-based battalion had to overcome an atmosphere change from humid air to dry heat while training in the Arizona desert.
“It’s definitely a big difference,” said Padilla. “The terrain and weather are big adjustments. It was cold over at Camp Lejeune when we left and it’s been hot here. A lot of these Marines haven’t operated in mountainous terrain anywhere near to this level. This is the biggest field evolution many of these guys have done so far.”