CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait -- The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Battalion Landing Team 2/2 took advantage of the specialized facilities here to practice combat skills required in urban environments.
Company E, BLT 2/2, spent the day at the Mobile Military Operations in Urban Terrain Training Facility conducting exercises, which included sweeping and clearing a small town, clearing rooms and patrolling through an improvised explosive device recognition course.
The MOUT trainer is a high-tech facility that incorporates dozens of cameras and fiber-optic-controlled mannequins that challenge participants to make split-second decisions in a high-stress environment. The Marines had to quickly choose whether to fire their weapons or withhold their assault --a difficult choice with the mix of both weapon-wielding fighters and noncombatants that filled the facility's rooms.
The Marines did not just have the option of shooting at everything in the city, as eyes were watching them from above every step of the way.
Each squad advanced through the course as their platoon and company leadership watched the action from a separate room filled with monitors showing the Marines every move. This feature gave the company leadership an assessment of techniques their Marines needed to improve upon.
1st Lt. Jonathan Landers, executive officer of Co. E, said it is imperative for the infantry to train for urban combat because of the conditions on the modern battlefield.
"It's important for us to do these types of exercises because of the amount of urban operations that are currently taking place around the world. It's obviously where the fight is," he said.
Landers also said the training was necessary to keep the Marines sharp on their tactics after a long deployment aboard ship, which does not offer the opportunity to practice such operations.
Lance Cpl. Andre T. Thomas, a Squad Automatic Weapon gunner with Co. E, said the courses offered a lot to the Marines.
"The IED lane was a new experience," he said. "(The training) was very useful; it was realistic and looks a lot like Iraq."
The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is utilizing the facilities at Udairi Range, Kuwait, to exercise core capabilities and refresh skills. The training is designed to ensure the MEU's continued operational readiness to conduct an array of potential missions as the strategic reserve for U.S. Central Command.
The 26th MEU deployed from Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 6th.