CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait --
Putting a little more of the combat in Combat Logistics Battalion, Marines and sailors from the Security Platoon for Combat Logistics Battalion 22, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), conducted a convoy security training course recently in order to sharpen their skills in defending logistical movements from attacks and improvised explosive devices on the open roads.
The multi-vehicle platoon split into two teams to roll through the course, which included pre-staged attacks from simulated IEDs, vehicle-borne IEDs and even simulated snipers.
"We want them to make sure they maintain an offensive mindset,"said civilian course instructor Steve Scales. "We want to make sure they're aggressively looking for indicators of IEDs.
While they wanted the Marines to be aggressive in their hunt for IEDs, they also wanted them to be intelligent about that hunt and not search every pile of sand or discarded box.
"Anything could be an IED. A piece of trash could be an IED, but you've got to have more things to confirm that,"said Lance Cpl. Cody Skidmore, a Security Platoon humvee driver and native of Houston, Texas.
The course had the added benefit of role-playing civilians, portraying both innocents and insurgents, hanging out amongst the plywood villages waiting for the Marines to come along.
"They enable the leaders to get out and engage and meet the locals and gather information from the locals, to help defeat the IEDs or the insurgents in the area,"said Scales.
Sgt. Fabian Rosado, a squad leader for the military police section that serves as the core of the security platoon said the role-players made a crucial difference in the training.
"The role-players made it seem real. Like you're out there in Iraq for real,"said Rosado, a Cuban immigrant who gained his U.S. citizenship shortly before he joined the Marines. "I've been there twice, so I know what I expect. But, I've got a lot of Marines, lance corporals and (privates first class) that don't know that, so I think it's pretty good for them."
Lance Cpl. Christopher Chisholm, who is normally a heavy forklift operator for CLB-22, said he was impressed by the realism.
"Everything that basically is going on in Iraq, they were throwing at us,"said the Griffin Ga. Native. "I've never seen it before, first-hand, so it was kind of eye-opening to me."
Chisholm added that while his duties as a member of the security platoon add a little more work to his regular duties, he doesn't mind because it means he gets to participate in training that he would miss otherwise.
"It's good for me,"he said. "It's a lot more knowledge than other people have."
Rosado added that the best part of the training was that they did it at all.
"We've been concentrating more on the SOC missions,"said Rosado, referring to the standard CLB-supported missions in the 22nd MEU(SOC)'s arsenal, such as humanitarian assistance and mass-casualty medical support, which the MEU was trained and tested on throughout its six-month pre-deployment training cycle. "So, for the last six months, we've done not as much as we needed to."
Even without the consistency of regular training and with some"last-minute" additions, the security platoon came together to work as a team.
"They just added about 20 people to our security platoon,"said Chisholm. "This is the first time we've run through it together. So, I think we did exceptionally well."
Rosado shared the sentiment adding that even toward the end of the course, when some might be expected to be just going through the motions, his Marines were staying alert.
"The last car we searched, we found an IED. I told one of my guys to go to the left. As soon as he went to the left, he spotted a sniper,"said Rosado. "That tells me that he was paying attention instead of just going to the left."
The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) consists of its Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and its Command Element. Battery B is currently serving as the artillery arm of the MEU during a scheduled deployment.
To learn more about the 22nd MEU(SOC), visit the unit's Web site, www.22meu.usmc.mil.