FORT BLISS, Texas - Marines with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division and soldiers with 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team trained side-by-side during the Network Integration Evaluation 14.2 clearing a small city with role players acting as the enemy at Fort Bliss, Texas, May 12, 2014.
The Marines and soldiers worked together as a team, each with its own objective, but overall the same end mission goal, to clear the military operations in urban terrain facility of the 25 to 30 enemies.
The Army sent ahead a platoon of M1A1 Abram tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to clear the town of armored vehicles and superior firepower that could be hazardous to the Marines and soldiers clearing the town on foot. After the town was clear of armored vehicles, Marines and soldiers attacked on foot.
The Marines arrived close to the city aboard Amphibious Assault Vehicles then dismounted and cleared the town of enemy forces. Their mission was to clear the center of the town; each platoon taking a different section of buildings. Once the seven hundred meters were rid of all its enemy occupants, Marines set up defensive positions throughout the town to hold the newly acquired ground for the next 16 hours before moving on to their next mission.
“It was one of the most realistic training evolutions we’ve done here in Texas,” said Fayetteville, North Carolina, native, Lance Cpl. Jacob Jones, a fire team leader with Echo Company. “What was great about working with the Army was that there was no head butting with them during our assault. They had their mission and we had ours, but we were still mutually supportive of each other and willing to help out when needed. We covered them during their assault on buildings and they covered us.”
With many new Marines in the company, squad leaders and fire team leaders had to be vigilant and cognizant of their Marines and what was happening on the battlefield. While the training was beneficial for the junior Marines, it was an eye opener for Marines in leadership roles as well.
“Most of the Marines haven’t cleared rooms on a constant basis like we did today,” said Benton, Louisiana native, Sgt. Richard Stroud, a platoon sergeant with Echo Co. “But, with Marines you point them in a direction, tell them to go, and they will. Or they’ll follow their fire team leaders and squad leaders if they aren’t sure what’s going on. This training helped give them that experience; it’s something they can take back with them to Lejeune and use for future operations.”
As soon as 2nd platoon was given the order that they were training in a MOUT town they were all excited, said Jones. “It’s a real test to see where your Marines are at and how well they work together to accomplish a mission.”