Marines clear buildings, detain prisoners, establish action drills
CENTRAL TRAINING AREA, Okinawa, Japan -- “Set!” yells a fire team leader as he waits outside a doorway. The Marine behind him grabs his shoulder and gives the command, “Go!” The four-man team rushes into the room, clearing it of enemies.
Marines with Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, trained for military operations on urban terrain Jan. 16 at Combat Town in the Central Training Area near Camp Hansen.
The Marines rehearsed clearing buildings, detaining and handling mock enemy prisoners of war, establishing casualty collection points, and conducted immediate action drills.
At combat town, each building presents the Marines with unpredictable layouts – similar to what Marines would experience in urban combat operations, according to 1st Lt. Kevin J. Corpuz, an assault amphibious vehicle officer with the battalion. The rooms are filled with furniture, windows and stairways to enhance realism while training.
“The majority of the Marines have a basic understanding of (urban operations), but this training brought them together and allowed them to build on what they’ve learned and fix their mistakes for when it really counts,” said Sgt. Thomas R. Hughes, a basic tank and AAV crewman with the battalion.
The Marines rehearsed different routines on proper room clearing to enhance their proficiency.
“We entered the buildings several times using different combinations of team members in order to achieve familiarity while working with each other,” said Lance Cpl. Justin A. Phillips, an AAV crewman with the battalion. “Morale remained high throughout the training.”
During after-action reviews, the Marines shared successes and identified ways to improve their skills in the urban terrain.
“Positive comments included the use of realistic scenarios and complicated buildings, which provided a training challenge, allowing us to improvise on the fly, and made us communicate during movement,” said Phillips.
The Marines also identified and addressed areas in need of improvement, such as movement on stairwells, interacting with the local urban populace, and the use of the M249 squad automatic weapons during room clearing operations.
“Always being prepared to perform real-world urban operations is important for every Marine,” said Corpuz.
The Marines enjoyed their experience at combat town and will take valuable lessons away from the training, according to Hughes.
“I felt that the hands-on experience was very enjoyable for everyone, and the classes and drills are critical for operating in urban terrain,” said Hughes. “It’s good for the Marines that have never deployed to learn the basic fundamentals. Now they will have the fundamental experience and knowledge needed to operate successfully in an urban environment.”