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US Dept of Defense - Marines Focus on Target Identification

#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.

http://www.isria.com/pages/4_January_2010_110.php
 
#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
sneeky_turd said:
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.
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
sneeky_turd said:
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!
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
sneeky_turd said:
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.
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
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
SNIP
Too true but of course he was not a Marine.
SNIP

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.
 
#10
vvaannmmaann said:
The end of Blue on Blue? Let's hope so.

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:
 
#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
Cuddles said:
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"!
...
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
sneeky_turd said:
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!
Tis only a dah an' a Snider that makes a dacoit, Widout thim, he's a paceful cultivator, an' felony for to shoot.
 
#17
Cuddles said:
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"!
And this is "gospel" in terms of the reality? Of course the term "Americans" encompasses a rather large population so it is a bit difficult to respond intelligently. If you mean the country folk around my farm who routinely kill each other during hunting season I will agree. If you mean Marines in general I strongly disagree. In fact, I will eagerly compare our marksmanship program to any you cite in the UK--ready on the left, ready on the right.

If you read the article again you will see this was not a marksmanship exercise per se but a tactical training exercise. I am confident that if I were to observe similar training in the UK I would see nearly the exactly same thing being practiced.

If your point (and that of some other posters) is that the US military in general displays a more "robust" response to threats than the UK military in general (such generalizations are not really all that valuable as much depends on each situation) I can agree. I think this is a reflection of many things working at once--there is no question the average American has a far different attitude toward firearms than the average Briton. It is also likely true that those who gravitate toward the military in the US are probably even more prone to use firearms than the US population in general. Thus, to an extent, it is likely provable that American military in general are more prone to use their weapons than their UK counterparts in terms of their culturalization.

Obviously, military training and discipline also plays a role but in this sense, having participated in many joint ops with UK forces and actually gone through some weapons course in the UK, I do not think there are major differences between the two militaries in this respect. To some extent, US ROE have differed from time to time from the UK both in their actual terms and their interpretation such that differences in the way the forces react to threats are different.

I also realize that most blue on blue situations of US and UK forces regrettably involve UK casualties. I will not minimize this or excuse it as such things are never "acceptable." With that said, however, if one drills into the data it is apparent that the vast majority of these involve attacks by US aircraft or indirect fire weapons and in this sense one has to consider the relative number of UK weapons platforms and systems that can deliver similar attacks that are in the same battle space at the time the incidents occurred.

The point is that the relative risk of such incidents is much higher for the US because it has so many more platforms and weapons systems in operation in the same battle space. Again, I am not excusing any "trigger happy" pilot or artilleryman but trying to keep all this in the actual perspective of the operations where these occurred.

I think this is also borne out by examining infantry blue on blue incidents. There are almost an equal number (as far as I can tell from the open source information I have seen) of such incidents when comparing US and UK forces and adjusting for the sometimes radically different numbers of US vs UK forces in a given area. Also, in support of my original point that there really is not that great a difference between the US and UK rifleman in terms of relative carefulness or carelessness (depending on one's perspective) in using their weapons, the percentage of blue on blue (whether among US or UK ground forces separately or involving each other) is extremely small. While I do not have the actual data, based on my recollections of combat in other conflicts many years ago and other anecdotal information, I would be very comfortable arguing that modern fire control, especially among infantry units, is several orders of magnitude better today than in previous conflicts.
 
#19
midnight said:
vvaannmmaann said:
The end of Blue on Blue? Let's hope so.

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?

Can't really compare the two. I don't recall or remember ever hearing about Belfast heating up to the same level of fighting seen in places like Fallujah and Baghdad.

Maybe during one of their smoke breaks they´ll try and teach them what a Union Jack looks like :roll:
Maybe you should quit dripping about the Yanks.The fact is they give us massive amounts of CAS which we would otherwise have to go without. The few times things do go wrong it gets turned into something bigger than ben hur by the press. Where as things get hushed up when we brass our own blokes up. Im sure theres plenty of blokes on here who have had a hard on out in the hot sandy places while watching the likes of the spectre gunship or a10's tear up a target. I don't remember hearing any complaints then. Give me the Yanks or an apache for air support anyday of the week over the RAF.
 
#20
sneeky_turd said:
midnight said:
vvaannmmaann said:
The end of Blue on Blue? Let's hope so.

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?

Can't really compare the two. I don't recall or remember ever hearing about Belfast heating up to the same level of fighting seen in places like Fallujah and Baghdad.



Maybe during one of their smoke breaks they´ll try and teach them what a Union Jack looks like :roll:
Maybe you should quit dripping about the Yanks.The fact is they give us massive amounts of CAS which we would otherwise have to go without. The few times things do go wrong it gets turned into something bigger than ben hur by the press. Where as things get hushed up when we brass our own blokes up. Im sure theres plenty of blokes on here who have had a hard on out in the hot sandy places while watching the likes of the spectre gunship or a10's tear up a target. I don't remember hearing any complaints then. Give me the Yanks or an apache for air support anyday of the week over the RAF.
Well said. You may also agree with my view that it is also a function of sheer numbers-if there were as many RAF aircraft providing CAS as there are US, I wonder what the blue on blue rates would be. While I will not argue the pros and cons of US vs. UK aviators (I couldn't do so on here anyway as it requires the use of both hands as training aids from what I have seen of pilots trying to prove any point about air ops), I stand by my contention that their training on target identification and attack parameters are very very similar if not identical.
 

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