MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON -- With the beginning of parade season only one week away, the Marines of 2nd platoon, B Company, snuck down to MCB Quantico, Va. to refresh their skills in military operations in urban terrain and using night vision goggles systems.
The summer months of the year are busy for Marines of B Company with both the Tuesday "Sunset Parade" in Arlington, Va., and the Friday "Evening parade" here, in addition to numerous other ceremonial commitments they perform.
"Coming out here refreshes our skills in what we joined the Marine Corps to do. With the awesome responsibility of being a ceremonial marcher, sometimes it's hard to find the time to train for where we might deploy after we leave Marine Barracks Washington," said Lance Cpl. Ryan D. Irwin, automatic rifleman, 2nd fire team, 2nd squad.
In the current operations in Iraq most fighting is done in an urban environment, or block-to-block and house-to-house. The Marines of B Company train for possible deployment to these types of theaters using a simulated town deep in the woods of Quantico, VA.
With the high casualty rates associated with MOUT, keeping Marines trained for these environments is a priority, even while they are fulfilling their ceremonial commitments within the nation's capital.
"Statistics prove that at least sixty-percent of MOUT result in causalities," said Cpl. Micheal K. James, 1st squad leader.
"This training is a reality check for these Marines. We have to explain to them why there are high casualties in MOUT, and how to lower them. The main issue is Marines can't become complacent in this type of fighting because it changes from day-to-day," said James.
"Urban combat is still a learning experience; the enemy adapts to the way we do things, just like we have to constantly adapt to the way they do things," said Staff Sgt. Edward L. Ewing, Platoon Sergeant, 2nd Platoon.
The Marines were retrained on clearing stairwells, hallways, rooms and maneuvering as a fire-team.
"The most important skill we learned today is communication within a fire-team. Being able to quickly tell the members of your fire-team where the enemy is could save a life someday," said Lance Cpl. Matt P. Pearson, rifleman, 3rd squad.
"Communication within the fire-team is a vital key to operational success. But all members have to communicate, not just the fire-team leader. We've learned the art of both verbal commands, and the locations of "fatal frontal fires" which are danger areas upon immediate entry into buildings or rooms, were the enemy could sight in on us," said Lance Cpl. Chris Martin, fire team leader, 3rd squad.
In addition to clearing rooms the Marines practiced all the techniques they learned at night while using the AN/PVS-7B night vision goggles.
"I 'm an assaultman, and we don't get a chance to go over MOUT at the School of Infantry. This was the first chance I've gotten to execute MOUT techniques while wearing NVG's," said Lance Cpl. Kyle L. Taylor, fire-team leader of 1st squad.
"The NVG exercise gets you used to the limited field of vision, the focusing of the equipment, and helps gets you used to wearing them," said Lance Cpl. Eric Lewis.
With the hectic schedule of parade season upon them, these Marines are glad to get away form the barracks for a couple of days and refresh and refocus on their specialty - rifleman first.
Regardless of where they might go after this, the Marines finished this training knowing they still have time to participate in the many proud moments that parade season 2005 will have to offer.