CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- During the U.S. offensive on the North Vietnamese Army in Hue City, Vietnam in 1968, the Marine Corps experienced for the first time what it is like to fight in urban terrain.
Now in the 21st century, urban war fighting is more common than ever, and devil dogs with the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-terrorism) are getting prepared during a 12 day Basic Urban Skills Training (BUST) course held at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility here.
The course, only the second ever held here, is the result of a continuous project being conducted at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in Quantico, Va. called "Metropolis". "Project Metropolis" began in 1999 and is intended to develop improved ways of conducting urban tactics.
"As a whole we (Marine Corps) didn't have a standard for operations in urban environments; everyone operated differently," said Capt. Ron D. Storer, the BUST officer in charge from the MCWL. "This course teaches a standard for all Marines."
The curriculum during the course provides a comprehensive basic guideline for instruction on how to conduct urban combat operations at the company level and below.
"We train these Marines and teach them how to instruct others by giving them the basic corps competency classes such as movement, forcible entry, assaulting, clearing, patrolling, and counter sniper," said Storer, a native of Idaho Falls, Idaho. "The skills a Marine must have to be effective in an urban environment to survive."
According to Storer, there is a 30 to 40 percent casualty rate during these types of operations, and their goal is to instill this training Marine Corps wide to reduce these percentages.
The ideal is to train Marines from various units so they can take the skills and knowledge they learn during the course and teach others within their unit, said MSgt. Jeff L. Hoiston, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the MOUT facility here.
This is training all to important to the Marines attached to the 4th MEB (AT) with the missions they may confront.
"All of the anti-terrorism training we've received so far has been geared toward MOUT," said Cpl. Billy J. Bible, a gunner with Weapons Company, 4th MEB (AT). "(With terrorism) we'll be dealing with civilians while trying to fight a war. What we face now is not being able to target a specific group and this course
helps in that concept."
Quotas for the course are primarily for 2d Marine Division units as it is focused on the infantryman, but any additional quotas not filled will be distributed to other units here.