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Marines with Consolidated Material Support Center, Headquarters Battalion, watch a video about improvised explosive device components and how they are hidden within an insurgent’s residence during training conducted in the Mobile Counter-IED Interactive Trainer March 11, 2011.

Photo by Diane Durden

HQBN Marines learn to think like insurgents

18 Mar 2011 | Diane Durden 10th Marine Regiment

Generations of Marines have been taught the philosophy “know your enemy” from Sun Tzu’s book, “The Art of War.”

Marines from the Consolidated Material Support Center, Headquarters Battalion, were able to put that philosophy to work using the Mobile Counter-IED Interactive Trainer, a set of training modules that encourages Marines to think like insurgents.

The MCIT, whose target audience is privates through sergeants and first and second lieutenants, teaches warriors to recognize emplaced Improvised Explosive Devices under a variety of attack scenarios. The self-paced, interactive training includes lessons in identifying the basic components of an IED, the function of each component and the most common triggering systems.

The trainer consists of four modified 40-foot-long storage facilities located at the corner of Ninth and Griffin Streets. Throughout the training, Marines are provided with narrative vignettes from notional insurgent bomb makers and U.S. soldiers.

Then they are introduced to the various types of IEDs and their components, with examples displayed in the open. Some components are hidden to help the Marines learn the most typical hiding places, and to think outside the box when searching.

The modules are designed to be as realistic as possible. The second module resembles an Afghan bomb maker’s residence. The smell of sulfur and the textured walls add to the realism.

“The interactive style helps with the learning process,” said Sgt. Christian Martinez, a warehouse non-commissioned officer with Headquarters Battalion. Martinez, who was deployed during 2005 and 2006, said even after his experiences, the training still provided new examples and information.

Each module focuses on a different element of an IED, including identifying components, searching residences for hidden components and placement of IEDs by the insurgent.

The common thread linking all modules is the necessity to think like an insurgent. At the completion of each module, Marines are quizzed on their knowledge of the information presented, and their recognition and reaction skills.

Using the information presented in earlier modules, Marines participate in a “final exam” in the fourth and final module.

Marines are assigned various roles within an insurgent ambush team. The team sets up the scenario, chooses which type of IED to use, and the placement and detonation points.

At the opposite end of the trainer, a mounted patrol, also played by Marines, runs through the scenario set up by the “insurgent” team, honing their convoy security skills.

Each team is awarded and deducted points for execution of the scenario. A debrief is provided by MCIT technicians.

“It provides effective training in a short period of time, allowing leaders to schedule additional training in between larger training evolutions,” said Jimmy Cortez, MCIT trainer, who is eager for Marines to conduct the training. “We’re here to train Marines.”

The MCIT is in the process of being added to the Combat Center range schedule.

Until then, units wanting to conduct training can schedule time directly with MCIT personnel. To schedule training, contact Cortez at 623-210-2294.

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