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3/7 trains on Yuma's streets

By Cpl. Giovanni Lobello | | April 15, 2005

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Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 held its Weapons and Tactics Instructor course assault support training exercise April 15 in the Yuma community.The training evolution is conducted twice each year during each of the two biannual WTI courses and teaches aviation and ground Marines what to do in an urban environment."The main objective of the training exercise is to provide humanitarian assistance to Iraqi village hospitals and have a convoy deliver medical supplies to those sites," said Maj. James Ryan, MAWTS-1 ground combat instructor. "But while the medical supplies are being delivered, other events took place."The exercise started after a helicopter observed a possible terrorist cell meeting in an abandoned parking lot. The pilots then called a quick reaction force team, which was roaming the streets in case of any hostile activity, to investigate the scene. Upon arriving, the Marines set up a perimeter and tactically engaged the suspects. They then searched the possible terrorists and found AK-47's, along with grenade launchers. After conducting a thorough search, the quick reaction team took the suspects as Enemy Prisoners of War.After securing the parking lot, the action moved to the convoy delivering medical supplies. The convoy had to go to two different locations in the Yuma Community Trinity Christian Center and Kiwanis Park.Trinity Christian Center was the first drop-off site for the medical convoy. While the convoy arrived, pilots practiced landing in an urban environment as they dropped off infantry Marines, who secured the site. After the Marines in the convoy delivered the medical supplies, they repeated the process at Kiwanis Park.While the infantry set up a perimeter, role players from the station acted as local citizens. "This is a dynamic setting for the Marines where they are forced to make decisions quickly," said Capt. Barron Mills, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines commander. "With the role players, they are able to see the consequences of their decisions, whether it be good or bad."This was good training for the Marines to learn how to diffuse a possible hostile situation, said Maj. Thomas Welborn, MAWTS-1 artillery instructor. They have to be polite, which is one of the things they learned during the WTI course.The 3/7 Marines also had to deal with losing senior leadership caused by a sniper attack. They learned what to do when a fellow Marine goes down, said Welborn. This allowed the pilots, corpsman, and the 3/7 Marines to get practice in performing casualty evacuations in an urban environment. "The training we are doing here will pay off on our next deployment to Iraq," said Pfc. Jonathan Rose, 3/7 automatic rifleman. "We learned how to detain civilians without disrespecting them because the Iraqi traditions are different. I also learned the importance of constantly maintaining vigilance. We learned how to set up a cordon where we don't let anyone in or anyone out without knowing. We can't have any gaps or else what we are doing is useless."
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