MOUT up, BUST out

26 Jul 2004 | Lance Cpl. Aaron P. Mankin

A group of Marines go on patrol through a city in the middle of the afternoon.  They hold tight to their rifles as they keep a close eye on the buildings that seem to box them in.  A single shot rings out and echoes down the streets.  The Marines respond instantly as they hug the walls in packs and begin to yell out where the shot came from.  Their sights are narrowed to a single window on the second floor of City Hall.  A grenade is thrown at the building's base and releases a yellow screen of smoke shielding the Marine's attack.  They blitz City Hall in pairs as they climb through windows, flooding the building, to neutralize the threat inside.

This scenario was played out several times during the Basic Urban Skills Training course held at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility here July 19-30.  The two-week course took Marines from the classroom to the concrete, from lectures to live fire and from power point to pressure points. 

The training involved Marines from several units, including 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment; 124 Reserve and the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

"What we are teaching here is the basics," said Staff Sgt. Ricky Roseberry, a BUST course instructor for G Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division. 

"The Marines here are participating in BUST so they can go back to their units and teach their Marines what they have learned.  So when their units come to the MOUT facility, they will be the instructors," said Roseberry.

The instructors utilized a large model of the MOUT facility to allow the Marines to visualize the routes they were to take during their patrol of the city.  The course was structured to include a time of instruction where the Marines were taught the lesson and objectives of the day. 

"It's great for the learning process for them to know they are going to have to teach these techniques to someone else," said Roseberry

The United States has a long history of urban operations.  For the past 55 years Marines have been involved in urban warfare in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo and now Iraq.

"You have to have the basics if you want to succeed," said Staff Sgt. Brian P. Mullen, a BUST instructor for F Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines.

"If you don't train for the mental mindset of not knowing what's around the corner, or not knowing if there is going to be weapon pointed at your chest when you open the door, there is no way you'll know how you would react in that situation," said Mullen.

The course stresses the importance of knowing the enemy.  Just as important, is to know the make-up and unique characteristics of the environments that will be faced by Marines.

"It's important the Marines in this course take away the ability to lead their squad into an urban battlefield and know what each man's responsibilities are.  Everyone should know what the next guy is supposed to do and be willing to do it.  We are here to get ready for war," said Mullen.