CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq --
Marines stacked up and waited outside the door of a small one-room shack for their moment to strike. Under the hot sun, they wiped sweat from their eyes to calm the burning sensation it caused. They didn’t know the situation they would face once they busted through the door, but they were ready for anything.
The Raiders of Headquarters Platoon, Company G, Task Force 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Regimental Combat Team 5 tested their urban assault skills during a simulated exercise here July 18.
“We’re engaging in urban combat using (the fundamentals of) the Enhanced Marksmanship Program,” said Gunnery Sgt. Eric Brown, 35, the company gunnery sergeant with Company G from Millwood, W.V. “This is a building-block approach system of training. They have to breach, positively identify (enemy and neutral targets), clear, establish a casualty collection point and evacuate casualties.”
Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 17 built walls for the house, which the Raiders used as a simulated enemy structure.
Lance Cpl. Robert Haynie, 23, company intelligence chief with Company G from Macon, Ga., reinforced Brown’s previous statement regarding the building-block approach by explaining how the scenarios become more intricate with each phase of the simulated exercise.
“Each phase will be done four times so everyone (in each team of four Marines) will get the chance to do everything,” Haynie said. “There are three phases. In the first phase, Marines will come in and engage targets marked with (letters and numbers) to show whether they are hostile or neutral.”
The marking system consisted of a combination of letters and numbers marked on each target. Just before Marines entered the room, they received the designating combinations, requiring them to think and act quickly.
Marines then moved on to the second phase after clearing the room and discussed how they could improve.
“The second phase will begin just like the first,” Haynie said. “After they engage the targets, one man will go down with a simulated close range gunshot wound. One Marine will establish a casualty collection point and then he will call in a corpsman to treat the casualty.”
The third phase, building off of the first and second phases, included establishing a landing zone and evacuating the simulated casualty. They replicated conversations with a helicopter pilot, and as a smoke grenade sprayed out a dense concealing cloud, the exercise ended.
Brown plans to continue the building-block approach by adding on a variety of different types of rooms and hallways if the duties of their deployment allow enough time for the training.
“If we have time, we’ll do this again,” Brown said. “We will build off of what we already have and continue to train on appropriate urban assault techniques.”