FORT A.P. HILL, Va. -- Marines and Sailors of Golf Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, took on the combat town here, July 13, for a day of military operations in urban terrain training.
During the training, Golf Co. divided into squads and took turns rotating through four distinct scenarios designed to simulate different aspects of urban combat operations.
The first pitted two squads against a large, two-story house with hostiles on the second floor.
Success in the scenario meant the troops had to work together as a team, with one squad providing security and support while the other assaulted the target.
Working together to accomplish missions is what MOUT is all about, said Gunnery Sgt. Keith W. Harris, company gunnery sergeant.
"In real life, if you let the enemy make you into a single rifleman, you're done," he said. "You are not a single rifleman out there, you are a team."
The second scenario was geared to help teach a lesson about rules of engagement and what Marines can and can't do in urban combat.
Two squads of Marines on patrol took fire from an enemy who ran into a nearby building. The catch was that when the Marines rushed to enter the structure where the shooter had taken refuge, they were stopped at the door by a Marine role-playing a religious leader. The individual informed the Marines that the house where the enemy had fled was a religious building, and refused them entrance.
According to current rules of engagement, American troops must be fired upon from the building or have direct consent from the highest authorities in order to attack a house of worship, and that consent is rarely, if ever, given, said Harris.
The next stage of training was a simulated improvised explosive device attack on a three-vehicle convoy.
As the convoy of Humvees loaded with two squads of Marines rolled through a wooded area outside the combat town, one vehicle was struck by a rock, simulating an IED attack.
Reacting quickly, the Marines leapt from the two remaining vehicles and dispatched aid and litter teams to assist the simulated casualties of the blast and sent others to root out the enemy who had attacked their vehicle.
The fourth phase of the training was a cordon and knock exercise, during which a group of Marines patrolled through a stretch of buildings simulating a residential area.
The troops knocked on doors and interacted with role-players, who spoke Arabic to add to the realism of the training and give the Marines a feel for interacting with a foreign populace.
The training Golf Co. received was important for at least two reasons, said 1st Sgt. John D. Logan, Golf Co. first sergeant.
"As the motorized force for the MEU, we'll be the ones spending time on the roads and in towns, and the sharpening our Marines received here will pay dividends in the future," he said.
Logan added that it is also crucial to begin exposing Golf Co.'s many new Marines to the nature and techniques of urban combat.
The best feature of the MOUT training was that it exposed the Marines to the opposite extremes of urban combat, said Lance Cpl. Joshua Patterson, a squad leader with Golf Co.'s 3rd Platoon and a native of Baraboo, Wisc.
Golf Company and the rest of the BLT continue to train here as a part of the 26th MEU's six-month pre-deployment training program, which will culminate in an early 2007 deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.