CENTRAL TRAINING AREA, Okinawa, Japan --
A small group of guerrilla fighters fortified themselves in the mayoral complex of the city, unaware of an approaching force determined to expel them from their newfound gains.
Marines and Sailors of Company E., Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted an urban raid against a small force of role players here, July 16.
More than 60 Marines and Sailors used the cover of the jungle, simulated fire from blank ammunition, and small unit tactics to eliminate hostile targets and secure six multi-level buildings.
This type of engagement, against enemy forces in an urban environment, is one of several missions the company can be called upon to complete.
""We set up training evolutions like this one to refine and hone our (techniques, tactics and procedures) when conducting raids in built-up terrain," said Capt. David F. Samuel, commanding officer of Company E., and native of Encinitas, Calif."
There are a number of distinctive features in developed terrain that make urban-specific training imperative for the Marines of Company E.
The multitude of openings that provide potential cover for the enemy, such as doors and windows, is a challenge unique to urban operation.
Hallways, alleyways and streets offer another challenge a significantly-sized raid force must prepare for.
"This urban area is real close, so you have to watch out with your fields of fire and be aware of adjacent units," said Lance Cpl. Victor Mendoza, a squad automatic weapon gunner for Company E., and native of Las Cruces, N.M.
The Marines effectively coordinated their movements and fire to clear the town of hostile forces in less than thirty minutes.
The simulated engagement improved the overall readiness of the unit by helping the individual Marines master techniques before deployment, according to Samuel.
"The training made me feel more comfortable, because now I have an idea of what to look for," said Mendoza. "At a team leader level, this really helps to know where you want to employ your guys."
The exercise was one of many the company will undertake in the near future, while preparing to deploy in support of theater security operations.
The 31st MEU is the United States' force in readiness for the Asia Pacific region and the Marine Corps' only continuously forward deployed MEU.