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Marines enhance urban terrain skills

10 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl. Nicholas Ranum

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa - Marines of 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion trained for military operations on urbanized terrain Sept. 30 through Oct. 3 at combat town in the Central Training Area.

“The purpose of this training was to be able to have the Marines (enhance) their MOUT skills,” said Capt. Richard D. Adams, the commanding officer of Military Police Company A, 3rd LE Bn., III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF. “We wanted the Marines to get back to the fundamentals of conducting MOUT, so that no matter where we go in the Asia-Pacific region we will be able to conduct ourselves professionally and efficiently.”
The training included vehicle operations, foot patrols, tactical site exploitation and key-leader engagements.

“Key-leader engagement training allows the leader of the unit that comes in contact with a village to be able to go up to the leader and speak to them tactfully and calmly,” said Staff Sgt. Eric J. Ellenberger, the company gunnery sergeant. “Being able to engage with a local community will help us wherever we have to go in the future.”

The fundamental skills must be perfected before they can be employed in a real-world environment, according to Ellenberger.
“We use this time to get the basics right,” said Ellenberger. “Shooting, moving and communicating, and having each Marine become proficient in all three allows the fire-team leaders to communicate better with each other and their squad leaders. The squad leaders communicate better between themselves and the platoon commander, all the way up until the entire company is on the same page.”

Marines also took the opportunity to identify and correct deficiencies in their tactics and procedures, according to Ellenberger.

“With training that we have not done in a while, there will be errors that need to be fixed,” said Ellenberger. “We fixed what could be fixed during this training, and we will continue to fix what we could not in the follow-on training that we will have. No matter what it is, we are always trying to improve.”

Part of improving is providing an intense and realistic training scenario through the use of simulated rounds fired by mock enemies, according to Ellenberger.

“Shooting (simulation) rounds teaches you to move quickly and get into cover, so that you are not hit, and to fire back while doing so,” said Lance Cpl. Grant A. Hudgins, a military policeman with the company. “I mainly provided my fellow Marines with a human enemy that could shoot back and provide the needed stress.” 

Without regular training, Marines may begin to lose the knowledge and skills expected of them to complete certain tasks, according to Hudgins.

“Like any skill, MOUT (standards) become rusty if you do not use them,” said Hudgins. “Coming out here allowed not only myself to improve but also my fellow Marines. The training allowed them to shake the rust off and sharpen their skills.”

The focused training introduced new tactics to junior Marines and provided a refreshed outlook for more senior Marines as everyone prepared for future contingency operations. 

“This training really allowed the noncommissioned officers and junior lieutenants to take charge and shape their Marines,” said Adams. “Focusing on the small-unit leadership allows for growth to happen and the trust in their skills to be there. They did an excellent job, and I know (they) would be able to perform MOUT if we had to leave tonight.”

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