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Republic of Singapore Army soldiers and Marines with Company A, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, debrief their actions during Military Operations in Urban Terrain training, Nov. 6. Marines with the 31st MEU trained with soldiers from the Republic of Singapore Army to enhance their MOUT skills.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

Prepared at all times; 31st MEU conducts urban training exercises in Singapore

9 Nov 2010 | Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

Marines with Company A (Reinforced), Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted urban training exercises with the military of the Republic of Singapore, Nov. 6.

 Soldiers with the Republic of Singapore Army and 20 of their sergeants major came to observe the Marines and share their experiences. With about 600 years of combined military service, the sergeants major had plenty of knowledge to go around.

 “This is a great opportunity to interact and share our past experiences and I am happy the Marines are training at our facility,” said Sgt. Maj. Joseph Koa, Sergeant Major of the Army of the Republic of Singapore.

The Marines were given various classes on communicating, being aware, individual actions and escalation of force, followed by practical applications. The Marine Corps’ saying “train like you fight” was evident throughout the training.

The first period of instruction Marines received covered organized movement, stacking on a door and initial entry into an objective. Sgt. Scott Olson, squad leader with Co. A., explained to his Marines that the whole process must become fluid and second nature to them.

“We must be prepared for anything at all times,” Olson said. “The enemy could be around any corner.”

 During the training, Marines continuously practiced what they were taught until they could complete the drills with little guidance.

 “When each individual does what they are supposed to do, when they are supposed to do it, we have accomplished the mission,” Olson added.

Maj. Michael Borneo, commander of troops aboard the USS Denver (LPD 9), talked with his Marines about one of the 14 leadership traits – decisiveness – and its role in an urban combat setting.

“I want these Marines to know how to think critically in a combat environment,” said Borneo. “Your mind is your most powerful weapon, but when you hesitate, you die.” Gunnery Sgt. Dennis Minton, company gunnery sergeant for Co. A., also said one of the most important things a Marine can have is the ability to make quick decisions under pressure.

“When you’re in a combat situation and you have to be ready at all times to make tough calls. You may suffer consequences but in the end it’s all about keeping the Marine on your left and right alive,” he added.

 Later in the day, 1st Lt. Gregory Kaczmarski, 1st Platoon Commander with Co. A., gave a short class on identifying danger areas in a combat environment. He talked about isolating them by sight, or suppressive fire, and the importance of gaining footholds in enemy territories.

At the end of the day, Marines conducted one final exercise that tested everything they had learned, before heading back to ship.

Borneo said these exercises are relatively easy to set up and can be done anywhere; Marines can practice whenever they have free time. “It’s all about being creative and staying in that combat mindset,” he added.


31st Marine Expeditionary Unit