FORT PICKETT, Va. --
U.S. Marines with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1st
Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), completed
urban tactics training as part of the MEU’s Realistic Urban Training at Fort
Pickett, Va., Aug. 29, 2013, in preparation for the MEU’s 2014 deployment.
More than 160 Alpha Company Marines practiced fire team
and squad-level room and building clearings before progressing to platoon-sized
raids on a simulated town, made up of multiple buildings and role-players.
“The Marines showed that they have retained a lot of the
skills we’ve trained for in the past,” said U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Rob
Mortenson, weapons platoon commander and native of Stafford, Va. “They also
showed that they are ready to push forward as the BLT’s motorized raid force.”
The town included buildings with multiple rooms, doors,
windows and stairs. Buildings represented banks, apartments and stores, and most
featured numerous hiding spots that tested the Marines’ reaction time. Role
players used these spaces to hide and ambush the Marines.
“The building layouts were really complex, totally
different from what we’re used to,” said Lance Cpl. John Misoulis, grenadier
and native of New York City. “It put us a little out of our element at first,
but it helped us learn to adapt to unusual setups.”
The Marines also practiced breaching, tactical site
exploitation and reacting to improvised explosive devices.
“This training proves that the Marines are capable of
completing tasks on a compressed timeline, which is how the MEU operates,”
added Mortenson. “They’ve also proven that they can successfully take an
objective they’ve never seen before, which will normally be the case during
Throughout the training, the Marines performed both day
and night assaults on the town.
“Night room clearing was the coolest part,” said Misoulis.
“We got to do some ‘Ricky recon’ type stuff where we cleared rooms without
For the final exercise, each platoon took turns raiding
the town as a whole, requiring more coordination amongst the small-unit
“As a squad leader, the most challenging part of this
training was maintaining control of the whole squad while completing the
objective,” said Cpl. Kevin Boblits, squad leader and native of Frederick, Md.
The final exercise also included role players, with both
sides using blank ammunition and training grenades.
“By using role players with blanks, it helped the Marines
to get some actual feedback to know when they were being suppressed,” noted
Boblits. “The only better practice for that is (simulated munitions) or actual
This training will be followed by a motorized raid
exercise, where each platoon will conduct their own raid on an urban target.
MEU’s deployment will take it to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of
responsibility with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group as a sea-based,
expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions
across the full range of military operations.