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Street-to-street; 3/8 maintains combat readiness

US Marine Corps News

By Cpl. Sullivan Laramie | March 18, 2015

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment conducted military operations on urban terrain training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 11.

MOUT training prepares Marines for house-to-house combat as was common in battles like Fallujah and Hue City and is a crucial pre-deployment step, especially for Marines new to the Fleet Marine Forces.

"A lot of these Marines have never deployed," said Lance Cpl. Matthew Flickinger, a Clarion, Pennsylvania, native and machine gunner with 3/8. "The training here is to get the new guys spun up on what to do tactically in an environment like this. They'll learn room-clearing and maneuvering tactics and how to react to contact with the enemy because [urban combat] is definitely a possibility."

Training in the fabricated towns began as a result of high casualty rates in World War II and Vietnam War battles. Engagements like the siege of Stalingrad forced leaders to adopt new techniques to prepare troops for urban combat.
Troops were often unprepared for the need to engage enemies on various levels of a city due to training that readied Marines and soldiers for mainly two-dimensional combat. The enemy could be hiding in any number of places and even behind civilians, ready to spring a trap or ambush.

"We can't just bomb cities," said Flickinger. "There are civilians, so we have to know how to properly clear buildings and take out the enemy without inflicting unnecessary casualties."

Humvees, utilizing heavier weapons and armor plating, supported the foot-mobile troops by providing covering fire. The vehicles faced the threat of improvised explosive devices and enemy fire from high windows, which in close quarters can be difficult to defend against from Humvees. Vehicles and foot troops must support each other in combat, and the combined force added realism to the training.

"Troops do go through towns in vehicles," Flickinger said. "The exercise brings the whole battalion together with all of our assets – the guns, the rockets, the mortars, India, Kilo, Lima and Weapons Companies. There are IEDs and enemies and a lot of unknown threats, and we can't see them until we're right there. This is a perishable skill. If you don't do it all the time, you'll lose it."

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