News: Cultivating a counterinsurgency mindset: 3/3 Marines polish infantry skills for fall deployment
Story by Cpl. Reece Lodder
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII -- Shielded behind the walls of an enemy compound, a heavily armed squad of Marines huddled together and impatiently waited for the command to enter.
Toiling through obnoxious heat in Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s new military operations in urban terrain training facility, these infantrymen with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, assaulted the maze of buildings with vigilant eyes and ready weapons, Aug. 15, 2011.
The compound was unfamiliar, but the environment and the tactics they used to clear it were the same they had practiced over recent months.
Sgt. William Grube, a squad leader with India Company, 3/3, watched his squad as they communicated and cleared each building. He said the incessant cycle of MOUT training tested the Marines to improve their reactions by repetition.
Though the motions bordered on monotonous, they forced the Marines to stay alert — a necessity for counterinsurgency operations they’ll soon conduct on deployment.
“If this isn’t done over and over again, they won’t be ready when it counts,” Grube, from Azle, Texas, said.
Lance Cpl. Joel Christensen, a team leader with India Company, 3/3, led his team through rooms, and up and down stairs as they tackled different scenarios.
“Training to clear complex compounds here makes clearing simpler ones in country a lot easier,” Christensen, from Springfield, Ore., said.
He said the 360-degree environment helped each of the Marines sharpen their skills and senses, and allowed team and squad leaders to learn how to lead in the absence of visual contact with their Marines.
After completing the Island Viper exercise here last week, the Marines of 3/3 are continuing to progress through their predeployment training program — and this counterinsurgency training extends beyond the MOUT facility. Each of the companies rotated through training activities, refreshing their skills on immediate action drills, surveillance systems and convoy simulators.
“Building our counterinsurgency mindset exposes us to all spectrums of conflict,” 2nd Lt. Christian Czajkowski, a platoon commander with India Company, 3/3, said. “It allows us to escalate from the humanitarian level to full combat operations.”
Marines with Weapons Company, 3/3, traveled cross-island to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, to practice live-fire squad tactics.
A team of counter-improvised explosive device instructors from the Marine Corps Engineer Center of Excellence taught Marines with Lima Company, 3/3, how to locate potential explosive hazards from a distance using remote-controlled robots.
More C-IED instructors taught Marines from each of 3/3’s companies how to employ both metal and mine detectors.
While mine detectors are an engineer asset, C-IED instructor Ray Valdez said, metal detectors are essential for use by every deployed Marine.
“We’re helping Marines find explosives before their feet do,” Valdez said. “The detectors are only a few thousand dollars, but Marines are priceless.”
In late August, 3/3 will begin the Mojave Viper exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. This month long training event will be the battalion’s final evaluation before deploying to Afghanistan’s Helmand province in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the fall.
This work, Cultivating a counterinsurgency mindset: 3/3 Marines polish infantry skills for fall deployment, by Sgt Reece Lodder, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.