CAMP LEATHERNECK, Helmand Province, Afghanistan – Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, trained for counter insurgency missions using lethal and less-than-lethal force, Nov. 24, at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.
The company was recently assigned as the regional operations company for Task Force Belleauwood, the unit responsible for providing security for Camps Bastion, Leatherneck and Shorabok.
The purpose of the training was to prepare Marines for upcoming missions, and to learn about new less-than-lethal weapons they can use during escalation of force, said 1st Lt. Nathan Van Otterloo, a forward observer with India Co.
Marines conducted a mock patrol to the firing range to maintain a combat mindset going into training.
Marines swept the path for simulated improvised explosive devices, received simulated fire from a compound, and returned fire with M240B machine guns and mortars. The live fire exercise re-acquainted India Co. Marines with suppressing targets at unknown distances and reminded them to be wary of complacency while patrolling.
During 12 years of war here, most of the fighting has been done in populated areas. While patrolling these areas, Marines must remain cognizant of their surroundings and try to mitigate civilian casualties while countering insurgent attacks.
One tool recently made available to India Co. is a foam round fired from the M203 grenade launcher attached on the underside of Marines’ rifles.
The rounds are great, because they keep Marines safe while neutralizing threats with less-than-lethal force, said Van Otterloo.
“We don’t want to take someone’s life if we don’t have to, that’s why I’m happy we have a new way to stop someone without killing them,” said Cpl. James Robinson, a section leader, with India Co. “The ways the foam rounds can help are limitless.”
Van Otterloo said he believes the Marines did really well during the training and he has faith that they will be able to accomplish the missions given to them.
“I think doing all this training with make huge difference when we start doing our new missions,” said Van Otterloo. “It enabled the guys to re-familiarize themselves with their weapon systems, and it taught them how to effectively employ the new foam rounds.”