CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait --
Some Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 11 exchanged their soft covers and coveralls for Kevlar helmets and body armor to take part in exercises designed to sharpen their judgment and war-fighting skills here this week.
According to Gunnery Sgt. Henry, operations chief, CLB-11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Pendleton, Calif., his Marines and sailors are taking part in convoy operations exercises, weapons shoots, humvee rollover training and other exercises that will help them return safely from a variety of combat situations.
CLB-11 is the MEU’s combat logistics element and comprised of a headquarters element and personnel from supply, military police, transportation support, engineers, maintenance and health services detachments. Their purpose is to support all the elements of the 11th MEU in accomplishing their missions and to serve as the lead force ashore during humanitarian assistance, evacuation control center, and mass casualty response team missions.
Although CLB-11’s primary purpose is to support, it is essential for all Marines and sailors to receive this type of training because of the nature of combat today, said Henry. Combat has gone to an urban setting and the distinction between the front-lines and the rear has blurred, he said. “We are still in a danger area. So, we have to know the rules of engagement and be able to engage the enemy if and when we are attacked.”
CLB-11 Marines also learned how to counter improvised explosive devices and how to prevent fratricide. They also participated live-fire weapons training, firing small caliber rifles and medium weapons like the 240G Automatic Machine Gun and the 249 Squad Automatic Weapon (249 SAW) in day and night-time environments using night-vision devices.
Marines like Cpl. Zach J. Rufenacht, a combat engineer from Mount Zion, MO, took part in the Engagement Skills Trainer, a “shoot-don’t shoot” indoor simulated marksmanship trainer designed to help Marines make good judgments on when to fire their weapons during room clearing, hostile protests, entry control point engagements and cordon and searches. The training was designed to sharpen their decision making abilities and improve their reaction time.
“The scenarios in the simulator helped give me a “warm and fuzzy” [peace of mind] and helped me to decide how to react and do the right thing,” said Rufenacht.
Rufenacht and other Marines also got some demolition, urban breaching and explosives training. The best part of this training, he said, was when he blew through doors with explosive charges and cleared rooms with members of the MEU’s reconnaissance and sniper platoons during a live-fire “360 shoot house” exercise. “We went through the house and engaged multiple enemy targets.”
The Camp Pendleton unit also took part in the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer (HEAT), a humvee roll-over simulator. During HEAT, a group of Marines enter a simulator that rotates 360-degrees in both directions. Marines and Sailors must battle disorientation to exit the vehicle safely and provide full security, much like they would do in real roll-over.
“With all of the traveling that we do, if anybody needs this training, we do,” said Henry.
So far the training overall has been outstanding. “We just need to be able to do more. “I’d like to see one of these humvee roll-over simulators back at Camp Pendleton, so that we don’t have to wait to get to Kuwait to do this type of training.”
“Frequent rollover training would be invaluable to our Marines,” said Henry. “And it would save lives.”
For more information about the 11th MEU visit their website athttp://www.usmc.mil/11thmeu.