News: CAB Marines from Okinawa practice IED awareness, responses
Story by Cpl. Abigail Brown
OKINAWA, Japan - More than 40 Marines from Combat Assault Battalion participated in counter improvised explosive device training under the watchful eyes of instructors from the Marine Corps Engineer Center June 23 in the Central Training Area.
The Marines from Truck Platoon, Headquarters and Services Company and Combat Engineer Company, Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in a day of classroom training before two days of practical application.
The instructors from the Mobile Training Cadre, MCEC, held classes on how IED's function, what they look like and how to prevent them from being emplaced.
“Marines will see IED's in four scenarios,” said John Hernandez, team leader, MTC. “They will see IED's before assembly, being assembled, being emplaced and after they go off. They can prevent some of the steps if they know what to look for in the beginning stages.”
During the first day, Marines were taught how to properly search the ground when getting out of vehicles. They also completed indicator and observation drills.
“We were lined up and told to stare out at a field and woods in front of us and find the IED's and IED indicators between 25 and 125 yards in front of us,” said Staff Sgt. Candido Deleon, utilities chief, Combat Engineer Company, CAB. “It was a challenge that not one Marine was able to complete alone, but as a team we found them all.”
The Marines then completed foot and mounted IED patrols in Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected all terrain vehicles and humvees to practice the skills they were taught during the classes, Deleon added.
“While we were patrolling we would have to dismount and conduct our ground check,” the Brooklyn, N.Y. native commented. “We also practiced the nine-line medical evacuation calls we learned earlier in training.”
The instructors would brief the Marines on their mission, timeline and any simulated danger areas in the route, Hernandez said.
While the Marines were working through scenarios, the instructors acted as the combat operations center, explosive ordnance disposal and medical personnel, he added.
“I think it’s important for the Marines to know how to fill all the leadership roles in a situation,” Hernandez said. “If they feel comfortable taking charge and making the radio calls here then they should be confident when they have to do it for real.”
Some of the Marines voiced confidence in their ability to use the skills they learned.
“This was intense training,” said Lance Cpl. Ben Nelson, motor vehicle operator, Truck Platoon. “There are a lot of things we need to know before deploying. Here we learned how to spot IED's and what to do after encountering them. This helped build confidence in our skills and each other as a team.”
In addition to the IED course, the Marines were given metal detector training, which is not always offered, Hernandez said.
“Our training doesn’t cost units anything since we’re part of the Marine Corps and our curriculum is from the Training and Education Command,” he added.
Units can schedule training packages with the Marine Corps Engineer Center using the contact numbers on the Marine Corps website http://www.marines.mil/unit/tecom/mces/ecoe/.