MARINE CORPS BASE PENDLETON, Calif. - Locals roamed through the market, creating a hospitable environment as Marines and sailors serving with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, patrolled through town.
As the Marines continued their patrol, a role player triggered an improvised explosive device resulting in the start of firefight during Military Operations on Urban Terrain training at the Infantry Immersion Trainer.
The market turned from a friendly environment into a war zone in a matter of seconds as the Marines stormed the surrounding buildings, exchanging fire with enemy role players. Small-unit leaders yelled orders over the gunfire, moving their Marines into strategic positions as they closed on the enemy.
The training served several purposes, said Sgt. Edward Gonzalez, a platoon sergeant serving with Fox Co. The goal of the training was to give the new Marines new to the company a realistic feeling of combat, and to give small-unit-leaders an opportunity to lead their new squad members through different combat scenarios.
"I think it is crucial for the junior Marines to known what is expected of them in a combat environment and for them be able to learn from my squad leaders' actions during the training," added Gonzalez, 28, from El Paso, Texas.
Since the unit received a group of new Marines at the beginning of the year,the companies leadership decided the Infantry Immersion Trainer would be am ideal place to experience a realistic combat environment.
"I love how hands on the training is," said Pfc. William Perry, a rifleman serving with Fox Co. "The role players spoke in a different language and conducted themselves differently during all of the scenarios making it stressful and fun."
Gonzalez said he has complete trust that his small unit leaders will pass on their experience to the new Marines and show them how to properly conduct themselves as infantryman.
As Perry, 19, from Cape Girardeau, Mo., and his fellow squad members ran from building to building searching for the role player who triggered the IED, his squad leader screamed commands to help the Marines safely and effectively close on the enemy.
As the Fox Co. Marines kicked in the door of the final building and captured the role player who was responsible for triggering the IED, Gonzalez praised the squad for effectively seizing the town and completing their mission.
"The Marines did a terrific job during the MOUT training and I believe they would do the same in an actual combat environment," said Gonzalez.