CENTRAL TRAINING AREA, Okinawa, Japan --
Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit came together with their counterparts from Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 and the Camp Butler Special Reaction Team to refresh their urban combat skills during a field exercise in Combat Town May 18-22.
The main event for the exercise focused on the following scenario: after being routed from a town by Marines earlier in the week, mock insurgents, played by SRT Marines, had returned and were on the verge of re-taking the town. The Marines were tasked with once again clearing the town, and finding and protecting the town elder.
During the scenario, Special Effects Small Arms Marking Systems (SESAMS) were used. SESAMS rounds are 9mm projectiles containing paint fired from a modified M16A2 service rifle. The rounds are similar to recreational paint ball rounds and create a distinct mark on impact, making it easier to determine who came out on top after a simulated firefight. The training scenarios also included the use of IED simulators that release white powder when triggered.
Marines participating in the training said the week of living in the field offered a great combination of scenarios possible in Iraq, Afghanistan or jungle environments in this theater.
“Most of the time when a unit trains, they train to become more proficient in one area or the other,” said Cpl. Carlos Salgado, MWSS-172 bulk fuel specialist. “We were able to mix the two and conduct a two-in-one training evolution.”
According to Sgt. Thomas Reed, MWSS-172 Motor Transport Company line non-commissioned officer, one of the hardest parts of executing scenarios is keeping constant communication between everyone, but with experience comes understanding.
“Although this is not required, I believe we should conduct this training on a more regular basis,” said Reed. “It is almost inevitable for us to be in a situation similar to the training at some point in our military career, so we should make sure we are constantly preparing for it.”