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British advisor teaches Darkhorse Marines

5 Apr 2006 | Cpl. Mark Sixbey

Darkhorse Marines recently learned new ways to deal with roadside bombs from one of the Queen of England’s foremost experts.

British Army Sgt. Maj. Gary Price shared knowledge gained from the British Army’s decades of countering improvised explosives with the Marines of Mobile Assault Platoon, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

“We’ve been dealing with IEDs for over 30 years,” he said.  “The Counter Insurgency Academy’s commanding officer requested that I come out and speak to the guys on the ground to give them the benefits of my experience.”

Price is the Insurgent Advisor for Task Force Troy, which is the center for counter-IED operations in Iraq.  They analyze trends in insurgent activity then create tactics, techniques and procedures, or TTP’s, for dealing with the threat.

“We examine what’s going on and put the best systems, TTP’s and policies, as well as equipment suitable for the task in the area that it’s applied,” Price said.

His 18 years of engineering with the British Army have taken him all over the world, from Bosnia, to Egypt, Belize, Kenya, and now Iraq.  He said the bulk of his dealings with IEDs happened in the United Kingdom in Northern Ireland.

Price began the period of instruction by passing his British HK service rifle around the room of curious Marines.   Marines were also shown videos of insurgent attacks, and heard his view of the current IED situation in the Al Anbar Province.

For two hours, he lectured on terrorist organization, techniques for searching potential cache locations, disrupting IED production and placement and a variety of procedures for dealing with the problems.  He used his sense of British wit to keep the Marines’ attention during the class.

“It was to the point, very informative, and had a lot of humor in it,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brett Turek, the platoon commander for MAP.  “It’s a serious topic and he made it enjoyable to learn the material. He brings a whole new element to it.”

“I thought it was outstanding,” said Sgt. Philip Walker, an intelligence specialist assigned to Headquarters and Support Company.  “As far as keeping Marines awake using his dry humor, it was good to go.”

“They seem to take the advice,” Price said.  “They seem interested in what’s there to be said, and to give as much assistance as possible.”

Turek said MAP Platoon already uses many of the procedures, but that it’s always good to get an update on what is occurring in other areas of the country.  He said Marines are always searching for new ways to identify new enemy threats.

“There were some new ideas out there, especially some of the new equipment that might be coming out and just some unique things to look for,” said the 38-year-old from Hinsdale, Ill.  “It’s also good to get a refresher to remind us of some things we need to do more often.”

Price also shared lessons from his experience with military working dogs and how they can be better applied in the area of operation.  That piqued the curiosity of the Marines.

“It’s one of the assets we have out there that I don’t think we’re utilizing to our full capacity,” Turek said. “If we start using those dogs to start enhancing our abilities, it’s going to pay off in the long run as far as finding more stuff.”

“I’ve been out on a couple of patrols and what he was saying about the dogs was new,” said 27-year-old Walker, from Muskogee, Okla.  “He gave different TTPs for how to search potential caches that could be very useful.”