CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait --
Marines from Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), conducted a live-fire supported assault on a Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) facility near Camp Buehring, Kuwait recently.
The training area, set in the middle of the open Kuwaiti desert, gave the weapon-wielding warriors of BLT 3/8 the opportunity to use the supporting fires that they normally have in combat, but are not often able to use in training.
"We got to combine the use of machine guns, (Shoulder-fired Multipurpose Assault Weapon) rockets, M203s and M16s,"said fire team leader Lance Cpl. Kyle Herl. "We got to put it all together and see how it worked on the battlefield."
The Marines even had coverage from a section of 60mm mortars, to protect against any possible inbound reinforcements.
The training scenario was simple. The Marines patrolled into the town one squad at a time to look for an insurgent who had been harassing U.S. troops. It wasn't long before the teams began receiving simulated enemy fire.
"We'd receive contact and we'd react to that contact,"said squad leader Sgt. Andrew Liming. "At that point, we were tasked with clearing the rest of the village."
The rest of the village included two 360-degree shoot houses for teams of Marines to enter and clear. The shoot houses allowed the teams to use live ammunition in close quarters.
"It was pretty intense,"said Herl, a native of Jackson, Mich. "We kept up the intensity, hit the house and then our team started going around, clearing the whole house."
The live rounds the Marines were packing added the extra edge to the training. But, according to 2nd Platoon point-man Lance Cpl. William Travis, it was a necessary edge.
"If you don't train inside houses with live fire, Marines are never going to know what it's like,"said the Camden, Tenn., native.
Liming, of Cincinnati, said the best way to keep Marines on track during high-intensity, live-fire training is to stick to the basics of combat.
"Shoot, move and communicate. That's what it's all about,"he said.
Overall, the individual squad missions took about 45 minutes to execute in heat more than 100 degrees. But, according to Squad Automatic Weapon gunner Lance Cpl. Robert Rhodeback, once the adrenalin started flowing, sense of time went out the window.
"The rounds and the excitement and everything just keeps you from feeling it,"said the Kurton, Ohio, native.
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. The 22nd MEU(SOC) is in Kuwait conducting sustainment training as part of a scheduled deployment.