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2nd Lt. Neil Doogan, Charlie Co. student, watches for an enemy during a field exercise at the Military Operations on Urban Terrain Town at Marine Corps Base Quantico on Sept. 25, 2013. The Basic School company spent a week practicing urban combat. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samuel Ellis/ Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Samuel Ellis

Cleaning house has a different meaning to these Marines

25 Sep 2013 | Lance Cpl. Samuel Ellis

It was quiet, too quiet, for a sunny, Wednesday afternoon. Second Lt. John Reale, 2nd Squad squad leader, peered into a courtyard through two shutters enclosing a second-story window at the Military Operations on Urban Terrain Town at Marine Corps Base Quantico on Sept. 25, 2013.

It was simply a matter of time. Reale and about a dozen other Marines spent several hours reviewing their plan. Participating in one of Charlie Co.’s final training field exercises, The Basic School Marines were prepared to defend their position against a platoon-sized attack.

“We learn a lot at TBS about planning,” said Reale. “I think that’s the biggest take away from this training are moments like this: when we are out in the field and we actually have to make decisions.”

BOOM! Suddenly a sound simulating mortar fire echoed through the building. Rifles exploded into action as Marines threw open the shutters and fired their blank rounds at their approaching enemy.

The time was here. The attack had begun.

“During this week, Marines will conduct basic urban skills training,” said Capt. Micheal Dorsey, primary instructor for the Military Operations on Urban Terrain package, The Basic School. “They will review how to conduct interior movement and exterior movement, and learn how to react to ambushes, snipers and improvised explosive devices.”

Hearing unfamiliar voices downstairs, the team of Marines moved from the windows to a staircase. They unclipped a fake grenade, alerted the team on the third floor and prepared to pick off anyone ascending to their position.

“You learn the fundamentals early on and you just apply them to a new environment,” said 2nd Lt. Kyle Reesor, squad leader. “You are getting shot at from above and below, and if you remember everything you’ve been taught leading up to this, you’re set up for success.”

The squad sandwiched the enemy on the second floor as they continued the firefight. The second floor Marines exchanged casualties with their adversary as the third floor held its post. Marines on the first floor pushed up the stairwell and found an annihilated enemy. Victory was theirs.

Almost 300 Marines attended the practical application event which some instructors say is important for every Marine officer.

“Regardless of any military occupational specialty, they’ll be conducting urban operations throughout [their career], whether it’s humanitarian aid operations or a full combat assault on a town,” said Dorsey. “All the MOSs can find themselves operating in an urban environment. It’s important they understand the fundamentals of how to clear and how to conduct urban operations.”

Correspondent: samuel.l.ellis@usmc.mil