Marines from Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron conducted counter-IED training, July 16 â€“ 17, at Camp Pendleton, Calif., as part of the week-long Deployment For Training exercise.
Nothing causes more casualties to deployed Marines today than improvised explosive devices, explained Ray Valdez, a team lead at the Counter-IED training site and a native of San Antonio, Texas., which is why 40 Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., got the training they needed to help themselves and their comrades survive in a forward environment.
The training consisted of classroom instruction and hands-on, practical application on how to spot and confirm the presence of IEDs, the proper tactics, techniques and procedures for reacting to an IED and the enemy’s mindset in their use of explosives. The training culminated with a simulated patrol in an area where IEDs were likely to be present.
â€œThe point is to improve the Marines’ safety and survivability when facing explosive obstacles and threats,â€ said Valdez. â€œJust like ‘every Marine is a rifleman’, every Marine needs to be exposed to C-IED training.â€
C-IED training has become a mainstay for all Marines deploying to Afghanistan, as this type of warfare shows no signs of fading.
â€œI firmly believe that this is the kind of warfare we will see in the future,â€ added Valdez. â€œIt’s cheap. It’s easy to do. The insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown the world how effective these simple explosives can be with some tactics behind them.â€
â€œThis training gave clarity and perspective on what dealing with IEDs is actually like,â€ said Sgt. Johnathon Beaucar, an H&HS forecaster and a native of Laverne, Calif. â€œIt’s much harder to find the explosives than we could have ever thought. We had Marines out here for three hours and they didn’t see anything until they were right on top of it.â€
The training also provided many opportunities most of the Marines had not experienced before.
â€œThis training gave us patrol, radio, combat and leadership training,â€ stated Beaucar. â€œI’ve never had to call in an IED report, a ZMIST (a report detailing what treatments have been administered to the victim) or a casualty evacuation 9-line, but I learned how to out here. These are things we normally don’t get to experience in Yuma. We all need to have this knowledge, so when we deploy, we will be more prepared.â€
â€œNow, I’m able to spot an IED in the field and keep my unit safe,â€ added Lance Cpl. Zacharia Becker, an H&HS recovery specialist and a native of Hudson, Wis. â€œI made a lot of mistakes, but I feel much more comfortable going out on a patrol now.â€
Though the Marines participating in the training were not infantrymen, the importance of the knowledge being passed was not lost on them.
â€œThis training is important for everyone,â€ said Beaucar. â€œAn IED can be anywhere and we, as Marines, need to be able to spot them and protect each other.â€
â€œThis training is important because it keeps our combat mindset, and knowing these tactics makes us more confident in everything,â€ added Becker.
The completion of the IED training marked the end of the second day of the five-day DFT.