Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
The shooting house door rigged with explosives blows off its hinges and a group of 14 Marines stacked behind a blast blanket storm through the smoke and debris, weapons at the ready, senses heightened.
A seemingly chaotic situation for most is business as usual for operators from 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command.
Last week, 2d MSOB Marines conducted close-quarters battle training as part of a five week Direct Action course provided by Marine Special Operations School at Stone Bay to prepare for special operations missions which require high levels of focus and precision.
“These guys are accountable for every round they shoot” said Staff Sgt. Jason Johnson, lead instructor for Tactics at MSOS. “It’s not just ‘spray and pray’ like some people mistakenly think.”
The five-week direct action course, now in its final week, includes classroom and field training with role-players to hone the Marines’ skills.
Twelve instructors lead 48 students through multiple tactics packages. Last week’s training included live-fire, Close Quarters Battle Tactics on known distance ranges and in the shoothouse.
Each team cleared rooms with instructors on hand to tell them where they went wrong, what they did right, and how to improve.
“They have to be able to distinguish between hostile and non-hostile people the moment they enter the room,” explained Johnson. “They’re looking at a person’s hands to see if they have weapons and noticing all these things immediately.”
Another CQB tactics instructor said the time-sensitive tactics involved with this package prepare the Marines to deal with hostage situations. The exercise also helps prepare them physically and mentally for a variety Foreign Internal Defense missions.
MARSOC has two special operations battalions, one here and one located on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Each battalion includes several companies that deploy all over the world on missions of far-reaching implications. Raids and room-clearings demand precision: One stray bullet on a tactical mission could cost lives and have consequences on a strategic level.
The MSOC’s training continues this week with Military Operations on Urban Terrain.
The Direct Action course ends Friday but is only one part of a five month training pipeline MSOB Marines complete to prepare for Special Operations missions.
The pipeline involves many intense courses including the Special Reconnaissance Course, the Marine Advanced Sniper Course, a Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure Course, and an Explosive Breaching Course.
Two to three Marine Special Operations Companies will complete this training each year as MARSOC continues to grow to full operational capability.
Active duty Marines and Sailors interested in joining MARSOC can contact the Marine Special Operations School at (910) 450-3349/3123 (DSN 750-3349/3123) or visit us online at www.marsoc.usmc.mil/recruiting.