Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Marines from 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, took the Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility here by storm last week as they finished a five-week direct action course Sept. 13.
Four teams of 14 Marines and Sailors from 2d MSOB’s Marine Special Operations Company H trained night and day to conduct raids involving quick insertion and extraction using both air and ground vehicles.
Every day of the exercise, Marines arrived at MOUT at 4 in the afternoon and prepared their gear for the long night ahead. Most cleaned their weapons and field stripped their gear while awaiting their initial orders. After receiving a safety brief from Staff Sgt. Jason Johnson, lead tactics instructor, Marine Special Operations School, the operators put all their gear on and assembled at the landing zone.
Marines and Sailors from the MSOC practiced loading into the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter quickly, ascending 15-20 feet above the LZ and fast roping out one after the other.
“This final part of their training is integral,” said Johnson. “It all ties in with close quarters battle tactics.”
Fast roping allows the operators to do quick insertions close to a target without landing the helicopter and becoming increasingly vulnerable, said another MSOS tactics instructor.
Once the first two teams had enough practice on the grass, they moved the training into the streets of the MOUT site. The training scenario called for the MSOC teams to clear two target buildings of enemy role-players after the helicopter dropped them off on the street outside. As this happened, a quick reaction force arrived by ground vehicles and set up security outside the buildings.
Marines and role-players engaged each other with their rifles set up to use simulated ammunition – essentially high tech paintball using different colored paintball rounds.
“They hurt a lot,” said one 2d MSOB Marine of the paintball rounds, known as simunitions. “I got lit up, but it’s the best kind of training.”
This is the kind of immersive training that prepares the Marines of 2d MSOB for the difficult and sensitive missions they will face in the future. Instructors from the Marine Special Operations School attempt to prepare them for the worst through scenarios such as these.
Instructors used different methods to keep the Marines guessing and simulate the kind of unexpected events that can occur. Throughout the MOUT training area, instructors detonated small explosives to simulate improvised explosive devices when the Marines passed by.
Direct action tactics are a vital skill for the Marines of 2d MSOB. The recent five-week course reinforced those skills through dynamic and unpredictable scenarios that ensured 2d MSOB Marines and Sailors are prepared to execute successful special operations missions.
“You can never let your guard down,” said a Gunnery Sgt. from 2d MSOB. “You always have to push the fight to the enemy.”
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.