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1/5 Marines conduct MOUT training at Mojave Viper

14 Mar 2009 | Lance Cpl. John McCall

Marines with Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment participated in a Military Operations in Urban Terrain training exercise here March 14.

It was one of many evolutions part of Mojave Viper, the Marine Corps’ most elite pre-deployment desert training, which prepares Marines for Middle East battlefields like Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It is a very important skill to learn especially in an urban environment,” said Lance Cpl. Paul Stoner, 25, a rifleman who will be deploying with his unit to Afghanistan.  “I always get real amped-up before these (exercises).”

Marines conducted a platoon sized assault on a suspected insurgent hideout being used to produce improvised explosives devices in the mock Afghan city.  The troops employed room clearing techniques and squad assault tactics to clear the building.

“Once we gained access to the building we found two individuals that were proven to be suspected IED makers,” said Sgt. Lucas Dyer, a squad leader with 1/5.  “The compound itself was heavily loaded with IED and bomb making material.”

During the mission, providing security was very important for Marines to make their way toward the objective, a technique known as over watch was used during the siege.

Conducting these mock raids allowed Marines to hone this much needed skill and improve upon working as a squad and an entire platoon.

“It’s all muscle memory,” said Stoner.  “It’s one of those things that gradually come to you, it depends on the person and how fast they learn.”

The MOUT town was chalk full of role players acting as local citizens trying to drive the Marines out making communication very important for the mission to be accomplished.

“You have to communicate with each other,” said Stoner.  “You’ve got to block out all the distractions and focus.”

These Marines are continuing to train hard and are scheduled to complete Mojave Viper later this month.