News: Major general visits combat simulator
Story by Lance Cpl. John McCall
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Maj. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, the assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Reserve Matters, observed Marines from 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, as they trained at the Infantry Immersion Trainer, July 8.
Luckey took time to view this important part of 3/25’s pre-deployment training before the unit departs for Afghanistan in the coming months.
“The IIT is a training facility designed for chaos,” said retired Gunnery Sgt. Dirk Lens, a tactical advisor for the IIT. “We do our best to try and recreate real life combat by giving the environment the look, smell and sound of battle.”
Squad-size elements, normally 13 Marines, made their way through the IIT’s mock Afghan village and were confronted with everything from rocket-propelled grenade attacks and improvised explosive devices, commonly referred to as kinetic, to less dangerous, non-kinetic scenarios.
“Throughout their training, Marines are given different scenarios,” Lens said. “They can be highly kinetic or non-kinetic like talking to locals, either way they are forced to make decisions and work together.”
Luckey was given a front row seat to a highly kinetic scenario in which Marines were ambushed with improvised explosive devices, a rocket attack and small-arms fire from role players acting as enemy insurgents.
“The training is outstanding, very realistic,” Luckey said. “It is definitely an important and worthwhile experience for those preparing for combat.”
Reacting quickly, Marines were able to evacuate a civilian casualty who was injured during the IED blast and clear out the area used by the attackers.
“I think it’s great how it focuses on small-unit leadership,” Luckey explained, in regards to the IIT. “Exposing these Marines to the look and feel of Afghanistan is very important.”
The IIT is a portion of pre-deployment training for units headed to Afghanistan and is used as a stepping stone for more advanced training in the future.
“They take everything that they have learned and apply it here,” said Matt Fennell, a site leader for the IIT. “This is the culminating event of their pre-deployment training.”