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Pfc. Rory J. Yanulis, rifleman, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, provides security for his team on a patrolling exercise on Mainside June 7.

Photo by Cpl. Heidi Loredo

3/7 Lima applies new strategy

7 Jun 2005 | Cpl. Heidi Loredo

As Marines and corpsmen prepare to deploy to Iraq, training to meet the challenges of a hostile environment is a high priority. With 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, scheduled to deploy back to the Middle East soon, Lima Company took advantage of Mainside’s busy streets to apply new patrolling tactics. However, maintaining focus on the enemy in a city street filled with non-combatants will be a daily challenge for the battalion during their deployment."Opportunities to patrol on Mainside give the Marines a chance to replicate some of the conditions they will face in Iraq, such as a high volume of vehicular traffic and large numbers of non-combatants," said Capt. Bradford W. Tippett, operations officer. "These are conditions that will make a Marine's job difficult every day that cannot be replicated in other training areas without considerable effort."Since the combat environment has changed over the past year, Tippet said the battalion would alter their urban patrolling tactics.“Without a doubt the enemy that we are facing in Iraq is changing his tactics, techniques and procedures regularly to counter the procedures we employ,” said Tippett. “He is a thinking man who has a mission and will adapt to what we have done in the past to be more successful at his mission. Every change that we or our enemy makes will see a counteraction in response.”New tactics were implemented during the Mainside patrolling exercise based on tactics used during previous deployments. II Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general, Lt. Gen. James F. Amos, was present to view the advanced patrolling.“The tactics used were the tactics of ‘satellite patrolling,’” said Capt. Rory B. Quinn, commanding officer, Lima Company. “It is the practice of sending part of the unit as a base element on a particular route. Then smaller elements of the unit ‘satellite’ around the base unit the way that the moon orbits around the earth.”This tactic presents the enemy with more maneuver units than he is used to seeing.“It instills fear in him because in the moment before he decides to shoot at a patrol, he has to wonder if there is a satellite unit a half block behind him without his knowledge,” said Quinn.“Satelliting” is a term borrowed from the British soldiers and Marines to depict the action of surrounding or hovering near a base unit. The British Royal Marines in Northern Ireland have used it for decades. Patrolling Mainside may not be as realistic as it will be in Iraq, however it does offer the distractions Marines often face. “Mainside might not be an Iraqi city, however it is the most realistic training facility on the entire training center,” said Quinn. “It is more realistic than anything else because there is totally unscripted chaos and random movement going on all around the Marines. In Iraq, if Marines stop to look at a cute baby in the street, they may fail to see an AK-47 barrel pointing out a window nearby.”The battalion is comprised of one-third Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans and two-thirds of Marines straight from the School of Infantry. A small-unit leader’s role during patrolling is essential to mission success.“Third battalion, 7th Marines has focused a great deal of its time on training its small unit leaders on not only the TTPs required to fight successfully in an urban environment but also in preparing these leaders for the mental challenges that will face them in this environment,” said Tippett.The battalion will undergo extensive training prior to their departure including military operations in urban terrain training in Victorville, Calif., and security and stabilization operations at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif.
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