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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Col. Adele E. Hodges, commanding officer of Marine Corps Base, Brig. Gen. James B. Laster, the commanding general of Training Command, Lt. Gen. James F. Amos, the commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Maj. Gen. Robert C. Dickerson, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East, Col. Thomas C. Cariker, the chief of staff for II Marine Expeditionary Force, Col. Walter H. Augustin, the program manager for Training Systems, Marine Corps Systems Command and Jack Cuddy, the director for Range and Training Area Management Division, Training and Education Command, cut the ribbon for the Mobile Military Operations in Urban Terrain Facility here officially unveiling it April 3.

Photo by Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen

Mobile urban training facility unveiled

3 Apr 2007 | Cpl. Brandon Holgersen

Marines now have another training tool to prepare for their deployments to Iraq. The Marine Corps’ first Mobile military operations in urban terrain training facility was officially unveiled here April 3 and will be open for training in May.

The facility is named Nisr min Al-Bahar or “Eagles from the Sea” in English.

“This will be the premiere training facility on the east coast,” said Lt. Gen. James F. Amos, the commanding general for Marine Corps Combat Development Command. “This is the most important business in the Marine Corps.”

The training facility is modeled after real towns in Iraq and Afghanistan and covers 29 acres of land and cost more than $15 million to construct. It consists of 71 buildings, five of with contain 360-degree shoot houses to support live fire training. The buildings within the complex are one to three stories tall and include indoor and outdoor stairwells and ladders.

The complex also features more than 100 automated targets including eight moving armor targets, five moving infantry targets, two tunnel complexes and battlefield effects simulators, which will simulate improvised explosive devices and rocket propelled grenades.

“Anything we can do to make the training more realistic for Marines is crucial,” said Maj. Stephen Kahn, training officer with the Training and Operations Office, 2nd Marine Division. “A good portion of our training is mental preparedness. This will help Marines understand what they are going to see, so when they get over there it won’t be totally foreign for them.”

To further enhance the facility, speakers are in place to sound the call to prayer and provide city sounds. Iraqi nationals will also be contracted to roam the streets as locals, Iraqi army soldiers or to play as insurgents.

The mobile aspect of the facility describes the construction characteristics of the buildings. Each structure, which consists of eight foot by 40 foot shipping containers joined and arranged to form multiple designs. Each module is not permanently affixed to the ground or together so they may be rearranged in order to change and adapt the training environment as needed to remain relevant to current operations.