MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
The Military Operations on Urban Terrain Town aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico sat buried under the late night darkness around 11 p.m. on April 17, 2014. The town was quiet, almost too quiet.
Only an occasional lit glow stick hinted of a presence. A company of Marine lieutenants had infiltrated the town, prepped it for an attack and now waited for their enemy. The officers were participating in “The War,” their last field exercise before graduating from six months of training at The Basic School.
“[This field exercise has] captured really good training environments and human factors [hunger, lack of sleep, etc….],” said Capt. Matthew Schultz, instructor. “They get to experience a thinking enemy who is doing everything they can to win. These Marines come up with a plan and execute it.”
Although this certainly isn’t the first “War” Alpha Co. has participated in, this cycle of Marines, scheduled to graduate May 7, was the first ever to experience the exercise the way they did.
After being split into two companies, the Marines were led into the seven-day exercise where instead of conducting the whole exercise at Quantico, these Marines started on ships in Norfolk, Va. From the ship, they were airlifted by C-130s to Quantico and then helicoptered to a different training area on base.
Adding training tools, like the ships, were partially due to guidance from Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps and Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, TBS commanding officer, requesting training with amphibious roots in mind, said Capt. Kevin Newport, instructor.
“They got to feel what it was like to be on a Marine Expeditionary Unit,” said Newport.
“[We are] preparing them to be Marine Air-Ground Task Force officers and platoon commanders,” said Schultz.
This was also the first time in their training the Marines conducted a raid and had control of tools like Humvees, communication vehicles and 7-ton trucks.
“This was a pretty solid event,” said Newport. “They grasped the concepts well, above our expectations. They did well,”.