CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan (August 5, 2010) --
Marines and sailors with Combined Anti-Armor Team 1, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, learned how to patrol and operate in a jungle environment, August 3.
This training was conducted in preparation for the 31st MEU’s fall patrol.
“One of the things we will provide the MEU with is our ability to conduct surface tactical recovery air personnel missions,” said Gunnery Sgt. John Schmuck, platoon sergeant with CAAT 1. “Basically we are sent in to retrieve personnel and equipment behind enemy lines when air support isn’t available,” said Schmuck. “
Since CAAT is a mounted infantry unit, there are limitations to where we can go,” said Lance Cpl. Louis Wood, anti-tank missile-man with CAAT 1. “Okinawa’s jungles are too dense for our trucks so it’s good that we learn how to operate without them.”
The Marines hiked to a training area carrying rifles, load bearing vests and assault packs with the necessary gear to stay in the field for two days.
Throughout the day, the platoon commander and platoon sergeant acted as instructors – conducting classes and open discussions on jungle warfare operations and tactics.
Second Lt. Brett Howard, infantry officer and platoon commander for CAAT 1, gave his Marines their first class of the day on scouting, patrolling, and establishing an objective rally point.
Howard also talked about selecting different terrain to better serve the objective of the mission, and posting security based on where the enemy is most likely to patrol.
Schmuck led classes on the classification of ambushes, observation and listening posts and the importance of hand and arm signals.
“In a jungle environment the enemy can be behind anything so it’s important that movements are quiet and minimal,” said Schmuck. “Using hand and arm signals allows the Marines to communicate with each other without compromising their position.”
“It’s cool to get the opportunity to learn the roots of warfare and fighting on the ground in an environment like this,” said Wood.
The 25-year-old added, “The Marines that deployed before us didn’t get this training, so I feel like we will be a step ahead. It’s important to be well rounded. I’m definitely going to take back a lot of knowledge from this experience.”