MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER ;TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Four CH-46 Sea Knights came flying in over a small, simulated Iraqi town. After making a quick pass, the Sea Knights set down and two squads of 1st Force Recon Marines came barreling out.
Staying swift and silent, the Marines moved up to the doors of two buildings they had watched for two days. One team blew open the main gate for their building while the other team slid into the main courtyard of their building.
Immediately, shots rang out through the darkness as the Marines took the building, claimed their intended target and returned to the helicopters to fly back to their ship.
This was all part of a training operation at Range 210, the new Combat Center’s military operations in urban terrain facility, April 23.
“Their mission was to capture a high value individual and take him back to the ship for interrogation,” said Lt. Col. Andrew K. Blackhurst, officer-in-charge for the event.
According to Blackhurst, the Marines from 1st Force Recon came from the USS Tarawa located about 25 miles off the coast of Camp Pendleton.
“This was a complete Force Recon show,” said Blackhurst. “Two teams provided reconnaissance who came here [April 21] and the remaining platoon was split into two teams to take two different buildings.”
Even though the Recon Marines never saw the facility prior to getting out of the Sea Knights, many of them said they had no anxieties about going in and clearing the buildings.
“We just get off the bird and go,” said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher L. May, 1st Force Recon team leader. “We all know where to go in the house. The first guy knows to run in along the wall and everybody else does their job. So really, the building doesn’t matter. It’s the Marines individually doing what they need to do.”
The new MOUT facility, which was opened April 20, was built out of a new material called shock-absorbing concrete, or SACON, made from a concrete derivative and fiberglass. SACON is designed to take up to 2,000 rounds in a 12-inch circle before it has to be replaced, according to Maj. Richard D. Doherty, assistant range management officer.
The Marines from 1st Force Recon were the first to go through the range. They christened the range with its first rain of bullets.
“It’s a good range,” said May. “If you can shoot in every house, it’s a good place to come out and train.”