MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Patrolling through a hostile city can be a nerve-racking experience, and without the proper training it can be deadly. That is just what the Marines of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 learned April 1-2, during urban warfare training aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
The training, at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility at Camp Lejeune, was in preparation for the squadron’s deployment to Iraq. The Sweat Hogs practiced fire-team, squad and platoon attacks and patrols in many different scenarios.
“If you don’t know what you are doing out there, you are going to get yourself killed,” said Sergeant Maj. Linton Hardy Jr., the sergeant major of MWSS-273. “It is the most mentally and physically demanding type of fighting that you can do.”
The squadron started with small-unit tactics, before moving on to more complicated tactics that integrated a larger number of Marines, according to Hardy.
“We started with fire teams, then squads, then platoon attacks and patrols because of our crawl, walk, run idea,” said Hardy. “You can’t just throw some Marines who have been in garrison for months into an urban environment and expect them to automatically know exactly what to do and how to do it.”
The MOUT facility is an actual full-scale city designed to provide a realistic training environment for Marines to safely practice proper MOUT techniques. The facility boasts houses, a church, a gas station, a school, a hospital, a bank, a city hall, stores and includes such details as a sewer system that runs throughout the entire city, connecting every point of the metropolis.
The city was built to resemble a post-war environment, so some of the buildings appear to have been destroyed by bombs or damaged from small arms fire.
“The MOUT facility provides the most realistic, three dimensional environment that we can train in,” said Hardy. “It goes away from the conventional two dimensional fighting style, being just ground and air. Now you’ve got ground, air, windows, corners, sewers, roof tops and countless other variables. It opens up all of your surroundings.”
Every facet of the city was utilized in order to give the Marines the best training available.
“We are providing Marines with the tools and exposure to urban type environments that they might encounter in an urban environment or deployed theater,” said Hardy. “Which is the most difficult fighting to do in today’s world.”
The training helped keep the Marines’ knowledge of room clearing and patrolling fresh.
“Yeah, the training helped me,” said Sgt. Stephen Brzuska, a heavy equipment operator for MWSS-273. “It helped instill in the Marines squad techniques that you may need to know. We don’t do this stuff everyday, so when we do it we need to be on our toes.”
The real thing has proven to be deadly, but with the proper training the Marines of MWSS-273 should be ready.
“I’ve never been to Iraq before, so this training is really helping me,” said Pfc. Caurtney Ogle, a water purifier for MWSS-273. “It has prepared me a lot better then (Marine Combat Training) did.”