JUNE 28, 2016, MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, trained in a simulated African village where they conducted patrols and defended the village from insurgents operating nearby during a training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 23, 2016.
Cpl. Tyler N. Thomas, a squad leader with Bravo Co., 2nd Platoon, explained that the infantry immersion trainer uses role-players to get these Marines hands-on experience working with stressful situations in various scenarios.
During the exercise, the villagers wanted the Marines to take charge of the situation, but several factors induced stress on the situation. Among the sounds and smell of the environment, the Marines were faced with a language barrier as villagers tried to make their voices heard.
“It gives us a good chance to see what it will be like on a deployment because it immerses us in the environment,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Bastian, a squad leader with the unit.
As the Marines continued their patrol throughout the foreign area, a simulated suicide bomber revealed herself in a group of civilians and Marines. In the panic, two villagers and a Marine simulated injuries.
Mock casualties wore fake stomachs that looked like they had been blown open. Any Marine who was wounded during the training was replaced with a realistic training dummy that could bleed from its wounds.
Then the Marines had to secure the area from any other threats and help treat the wounded.
While retrieving the wounded Marine, two role players acting as insurgents opened fire, sending panic throughout the village and causing even more chaos and confusion in the streets. Several Marines who heard the gunshots located the threat inside and were able to take him into police custody.
“When the real enemy is there it’s not going to be controlled,” said Thomas in regards to their training verses a real-life combat situation. Doing this training definitely alleviates the stress and friction that can add to a real-life scenario.”
While the village’s police force were detaining the gunmen, several villagers and Marines were tending to the others injured in the simulated suicide-bombing.
Complications like this in training are what helps these Marines learn to overcome obstacles, prevent casualties and save people in real life.
“Our job is to answer America’s call,” said Thomas. “We need to have that confidence that these Marines will be able to get the mission accomplished and come home alive”