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US Marines Conduct Urban-Terrain Training with Ukrainian Counterparts

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS170718-05
Release Date: 7/18/2017 8:32:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Stumberg, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

SHIROKYI LAN, Ukraine (NNS) -- U.S. Marines and members of the Ukrainian naval infantry conducted military operations on urbanized terrain (MOUT) training, July 13, during exercise Sea Breeze 2017.

Sea Breeze is a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security in the Black Sea region.

At Shirokyi Lan, instructors from the U.S. and Ukraine tailored the MOUT training to cover topics such as suppressing fire, maneuvering, cover and concealment, and communication.

Cpl. Eugene Dovzhenko of the Ukrainian naval infantry, who is participating in his third Sea Breeze exercise, was one of the MOUT instructors. Through an interpreter, he said he has seen a lot of improvements since his first Sea Breeze in 2011.

"They've all been for the better. You can definitely tell we're already a couple steps higher as far as what our readiness was back then," Dovzhenko said. "Training is always very helpful because you can always learn something. I've taken part in different exercises in Bulgaria [and] Romania, along with other countries, and you always have more to learn."

The 2-acre MOUT training area in Shirokyi Lan is known as "Battle City." Small wooden houses create a simulated urban environment in which trainees practice fundamentals, while allowing instructors the ability to monitor their movements.

Ukrainian forces first did a dry run, holding their regular weapons, while the instructors watched them maneuver, said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Adam Clark, a MOUT instructor from the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment. Then, armed with paintball guns, the Ukrainians went through the scenario again, with the U.S. Marines portraying the opposing force and taking defensive positions in Battle City.

Clark said he had a proud moment when he saw Ukrainian naval infantry members in his class perform a complicated team movement.

"They did a great job assaulting through the objective, which shows me that they're applying what the course is teaching," Clark said.

At one point, a U.S. Marine was trying to mark a group of Ukrainians. He was pinned down by the Ukrainians' accurate suppressing fire and had to duck inside a building for cover. While he was inside, two Ukrainians went around the building and surprised the opposing force.

"It was a beautiful example of suppressing fire and maneuvering," Clark said.

The Ukrainians weren't the only ones who learned from the training.

Clark also noticed how the Ukrainians check an enemy after the enemy has been shot.

"There's always a threat of a grenade being under the enemy, or an improvised explosive device, so the way the Ukrainians maneuver the body helps keep them protected," he said. "I love working with them. It's the most fun I've had in a long time."

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