US Dept of Defense - Marines Focus on Target Identification

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Jan 6, 2010.

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  1. US Dept of Defense - Marines Focus on Target Identification

    Adjusting his body armor, a designated marksman with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, tracked the progress of a patrol of Marines from his perch atop a rocky hillside. The marksman followed the line of tan figures as they plodded along toward the platoon attack course at Range 3 here Jan. 2.

    The patrol rounded a bend and approached a cluster of barriers that represented the first set of houses the Marines would encounter. After a brief sputter of chatter across the radio, the patrol separated into squads, then further into four-man fire teams. Each element pushed toward a predetermined objective, but also had to remain cognizant of the situation as it developed and targets were identified.

    As the patrol neared the houses and responded to simulated enemy fire, the Marines had to determine which targets were hostile and which were friendly as they prepared to return fire.

    The exercise simulated a patrol taking on an enemy position without the use of indirect fire, due to the risk of indirect fire causing civilian casualties. This forced the Marines to rely on accurate small-arms fire, explained Marine Corps 1st Lt. Mark A. Greenlief, the company’s executive officer. The purpose of the training exercise is to further develop the Marines' ability to quickly acquire enemy targets and engage them, while minimizing the risk to civilians, he said.

    "Coordination is essential at the individual Marine level, and all the way up,” Greenleif said. “The goal is to teach that the kinetic solution isn't always the best one."

    As the Marines moved through the course, they came across silhouettes marked by different colors meant to indicate a hostile or friendly target.

    "The exercise gave us the chance to distinguish between targets in the heat of the moment," said Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Brandon C. McConnell, a team leader. "It's pretty easy [during training]. In the real world, it won't be like this, and you'll have only a few seconds to make that judgment. The biggest challenge is trying to determine who's friendly and who isn't."

    McConnell, who was with the battalion on its last deployment to Afghanistan as a part of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, described the challenge of making careful and good decisions in the middle of combat.

    "You have to maintain control,” he said. “You're getting shot at by one person, and you want to just shoot back at everyone, but you know you can't."

    The success of counterinsurgency operations relies heavily on the ability of Marines and sailors to reduce civilian casualties, Greenlief said, which requires each Marine to take great care in acquiring every target.
  2. A contrast to the USMC's attitude in Fallujah, where I understand their golden rule they lived by was something along the lines of ......"never enter a building without putting at least 3 things that go boom into it first!"
    I prefer the Fallujah method.
  3. For better or worse, this is a reflection of the ROE imposed by Gen McChrystal and his new masters.
  4. Fair one. Sounds like good training and I'm sure it is.
    I just hope McChrystal understands just how easy it is for a tooled up Terry to become an unarmed innocent Afghani farmer.

    Im just sore because it's ruined the hollywood image of how I like to think of the USMC . John wayne never had to put up with that shiit!
  5. Too true but of course he was not a Marine.
  6. Has the Army under gone the same type of training or have the Marines been specifically targeted?
    I remember the Marines receiving some bad press in Iraq for various supposed naughtiness involving civilians/wounded insurgents.
  7. For years. The grenade and full-auto solution was dead by 94, if not earlier. Mind, a place like Fallujah, the ground determined the high impact approach. Even so, some Marine and Army units were ground up pretty badly.

    ETA: I am a bit surprised and disappointed. I would have thought someone would have replied "what a good idea" or "about bloody time" by now :D
  8. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    Too true but of course he was not a Marine.

    Wayne was on a Special Services boondoggle around the Pacific during WWII, and stopped off to entertain some marines in some godforsaken island hell. He was all dressed up in cowboy kit, and addressed the marines, advising them to giving Johnny Jap all kinds of hell. Apparently the marines were completely silent. Wayne left the stage crestfallen: art, in this case, did not impress reality.

    Or so I have read.
  9. The end of Blue on Blue? Let's hope so.

  10. I think the Yanks have realised that you can´t get the civilians on your side if you´re killing their families who just happen to have a sniper open up on their roof.The accounts of houses being levelled to the ground just to kill one or two of the enemy have been recorded too many times to be ignored by those who want to ´win´a war instead of survive it.

    I don´t recall houses in Belfast being bombed by the RAF or the Divis Flats being cleared room by room with hand-granades?

    Maybe during one of their smoke breaks they´ll try and teach them what a Union Jack looks like :roll:
  11. Yes, a bloody shame we didn't though.
  12. Ah, the change from the old US OODA loop approach "Observe, Over-react, Destroy, Apologise"?

    The idea of marksmanship for infantrymen is not such a new idea...we have been doing it for years. I recall in 1979 being taught that during the assault I should fire when I see a target "unlike the Americans, who fire every time their left foot hits the ground"!

    Yes it is about time and a good idea - providing of course the option to put three things that go boom, or indeed one thing that makes a very loud boom, onto a target is not removed completely.
  13. And the Germans btw. To be used only in the last 30m or so while legging it towards the objective with the butt wedged firmly between elbow and body.
    The USMC I observed seemed gung ho but also very restrained when it came to lobbing ordinance around. Not at all what I was expecting to see. Holywood, eh? I was gutted.
    I think it is all part of the 'couragous restraint' drive which is replacing the above OODA loop for many ISAF participants.
  14. Tis only a dah an' a Snider that makes a dacoit, Widout thim, he's a paceful cultivator, an' felony for to shoot.

  15. Would have been a bit of a bugger for the poor sods in the OP on the roof tho…