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A Marines with 81mm mortars platoon, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, provides security during a partol while conducting a counter-improvised-explosive device exercise at Range 215, Nov. 15, 2013.

Photo by Cpl. D. J. Wu

‘Darkhorse’ practice counter-IED skills

22 Nov 2013 | Cpl. D. J. Wu

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., conducted their counter-improvised-explosive device training at the Combat Center’s Range 215, Nov. 16, 2013.

The Marines, with Companies K, L and Weapons, went through the course in platoon-sized groups, crossing mountainous terrain into a military operation on urban terrain town. They practiced their patrol techniques as they physically searched the area and used a mine detector to locate possible IEDs.

“Darkhorse,” what 3/5 is better known as, is participating in the Integrated Training Exercise, the Combat Center’s premier pre-deployment training package for Marines.

“It’s great to be out here participating in ITX,” said Gunnery Sgt. Carmelo CruzPerez, platoon sergeant, 81mm mortars platoon, Weapons Co., 3/5. “We’re getting a lot of good training out here. Half of our Marines are straight out of the School of Infantry, so this is a good opportunity for them to learn from the more senior Marines.”

Marines focused on identifying possible IEDs, and following the proper procedures to safely call in the threat and maneuvering around the obstacle.

Darkhorse Marines had to find the best route, utilizing a mine detector while on a patrol. They also practiced what steps they would need to take in case of an actual IED blast.

“It’s important for us to work on our tactics, techniques and procedures,” said Sgt. Oscar Avila, squad leader, Weapons Co., 3/5. “A lot of our Marines have never done this before. Being in a mortar platoon, we don’t do this stuff very often, but it’s important that we do.”

The battalion has a week left in the ITX. They are refining the skills they learned throughout the training evolution and buckling down their TTPs and standard operating procedures.

The Combat Center’s vast training area and combination of mountainous terrain and MOUT facilities brings a more immersed sense of training for Marines.

“It’s great to be here for this kind of training,” Avila said. “The terrain is very similar to what we’re going to see while deployed and we don’t have a lot of the same MOUT towns in Camp Pendleton.”

The unit only has a few more training exercises left in their ITX. They will return to Camp Pendleton in the coming week and further prepare for their upcoming deployment as the Battalion Landing Teamfor the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in Spring 2014.

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