News: Headquarters and Support Battalion Marines take over M.O.U.T
Story by Pfc. Justin Rodriguez
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - The Marines moved in fire-team formations, taking heed of any doorway or window in sight. They spent the day learning how to properly patrol across a Modern Urban Terrain.
Company B of Headquarters and Support Battalion took over the Military Operations on Urban Terrain facility aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune May 9.
This event marked the first time a non-deployable unit aboard base has gone on a field operation.
“The Marines got a lot of training they usually wouldn’t have access to with this unit,” said Capt. Craig Grindle, the Company B Commander with the Headquarters and Support Battalion. “Its valuable training they’ll use if any of them deploy.”
Urban warfare is described as combat in towns and cities. The Marine Corps first battle in urban terrain was the Battle of Hue City in 1968. The Marines cleared the suburbs of the city while under heavy fire, describing it as “House to house and street to street.”
The M.O.U.T facility is usually available to deploying units, and is used to give the feeling of patrolling in an unfamiliar environment. To make it more realistic, staff played Calls to prayer to overwhelm the senses of the Marines.
“”It was as close as we can get to a combat situation,” said Rafael Rodriguez, a combat cameraman with Company B. “It was nerve wracking, it kept me on edge. It forced me into a combat mindset.”
The company of Marines was broken up into three squads, and each squad was given the opportunity to patrol the town twice. M.O.U.T staff and Staff Non-comissioned officers with Company B played the roles of the aggressors.
“Every Marine is a rifleman,” said Grindle. “So every Marine should be prepared to be put in a situation where they need to go on a patrol or return fire.”
The Marines used the m16a4 service rifle, but with a modified bolt that shot 5.56 simulated rounds, making the training even more realistic. They were equipped with flak vests and protective helmets.
“A couple of Marines took some bumps and bruises,” said Grindle. “But it’s training, we wanted to make this a realistic environment.”
The Marines took the training seriously, as if it was a real deployment situation. This marked the first field operation for Company B, but not the last.
“We’re already planning additional training events for these Marines,” said Grindle. “I want them to have every opportunity to train.”
The Marines were expected to clear multiple rooms and buildings, maneuver around and detect improvised explosive devices, and effectively return fire against the enemy. Company B of Headquarters and Support Battalion effectively took over M.O.U.T town for the first time ever.