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MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Marines serving with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, prepare to breach an enemy compound while conducting a mock raid during the Integrated Training Exercise here, Aug. 12, 2013. The Marines assume a supporting role while deployed to Afghanistan by letting the ANA and the Afghan National Police lead in combat operations. The ITX is a training exercise held to prepare Marines prior to their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

Photo by Cpl. Corey Dabney

Marines mentor, allow ANA to take led during mock raid

29 Aug 2013 | Cpl. Corey Dabney 1st Marine Division

Marines serving with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, conducted a raid during the Integrated Training Exercise here, Aug. 12 in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. 

The ITX is a monthlong training evolution the Marines conduct prior to deployment, and during this portion Marines serving with Kilo Company assaulted a military operations on urban terrain training town.

The training tested the company while conducting a raid and ensured they are prepared to complete this kind of operation if the situation occurred while they are deployed, said Staff Sgt. Daniel Arcand, a platoon sergeant serving with Kilo Company, 3rd Bn., 7th Marines. It also allowed the Marines to practice falling into a more supportive role while the role-players acting as the Afghan National Army led during the training.

“We have been in their country for more than 10 years now,” said Arcand, a native of Minneapolis. “Since we have been pulling out, we need to make sure we are leaving them in a stable environment. The reason we let them lead in training is because it gives the Marines a chance to mentor and support the ANA.” 

As the Marines searched the town, they encountered many role-players acting as Afghan locals or hostile insurgents. Within every section they entered, they were placed in different scenarios they could encounter while deployed. 

In some sections, the Marines asked role-players questions in attempts to gather information about their targets. In others, they had to navigate across areas where improvised explosive devices were planted. 

The Marines assisted the ANA and the Afghan National Police and let them take charge of how they achieved mission objectives. 
“If we are going to be taking a supportive role in country, then we have to be able to show we can let someone else lead in training,” said Cpl. Miles Potter, a squad leader serving with Kilo Co.

Potter, 25, a native of Riverside, Calif., let the ANA soldiers in his squad gather information from the locals about the location of their targets during the raid. His squad also let the ANA lead them from building to building as they searched for their targets.

Lieutenant Col. Daniel Wittnam, the commanding office of the battalion, said the main point he wants his Marines to take from this training is to let the ANA and the ANP take the lead, since the battalion will take a supporting role while deployed to Afghanistan. 

“I think my guys have done an exceptional job with the training so far, and I can’t wait to perform with them in country,” Arcand said. “I have complete faith they are prepared to accomplish their mission.”

1st Marine Division