3/4 begins SASO basics at Range 215

17 Aug 2006 | Lance Cpl. Michael S. Cifuentes

Third Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, rolled into their third week of Mojave Viper, a month long training evolution combining the Revised-Combined Arms Training Exercise and Security and Stability Operations training.At company levels, the battalion began SASO training Aug. 7 at Combat Center Range 215, a military operations in urban terrain facility known as Wadi Al Sahara. Prior to any live runs in the mock Iraqi city, the Marines and sailors of the battalion attended classes given by Tactical Training Exercise Control Group instructors. The instructors, nicknamed Coyotes, taught and reiterated to the Marines what they would come into contact with in the MOUT facility, which is also meant to give the Marines an idea of what they should expect in Iraq.The majority of Headquarters and Service Company Marines who underwent the training will be deploying to Iraq for the first time. The classes taught the Marines and sailors an array of material they would need to know for their upcoming seven-month deployment.They began Aug. 14 by familiarizing themselves with the kinds of weapons the enemy uses in Iraq, and how to use, assemble and unload the weapons.Cpl. Sam L. Minor, TTECG instructor, deployed with 3/4 for all three of their deployments to Iraq. He now teaches Marines, using the knowledge he gained from his experiences.“The Marines are definitely going to come across many of the weapons we have shown them here,” said Minor. “Through these classes, I can share my knowledge of what I picked up the last three deployments, and share with all the Marines who can use it. “I dealt with an AK [Avtomat Kalishnikova] at least once or twice a week over there,” added Minor. H&S Co. Marines and sailors were taught in-depth SASO, involving role players aboard Range 215. They underwent classes Aug. 15 on vehicle checkpoint procedures, contact and non-contact searches of individuals, and a short class on customs and languages in Iraq, taught by an Iraqi role-player.Lance Cpl. Octavio E. Campuzano, forward observer, H&S Co., has been in the fleet since April and awaits his first combat deployment.“Everything that the Coyotes taught is very beneficial to all of us who haven’t deployed,” said Campuzano. “The standard operating procedures that we were taught here in searching a vehicle, a person or a home is something I am definitely going to have to remember and follow when I get to Iraq. “I also learned some very important words and gestures from the Iraqi role player,” added Campuzano. “It’s very necessary to learn. It’s important to have a key to breach the language barriers in Iraq. It is important that we are able to understand the customs, language and gestures, because we want to build a good rapport with the Iraqi citizens. The Coyotes and role players were very helpful to us. The next step is to use this knowledge here in this city. The ultimate test will be in Iraq. There’s no telling what exactly we will see there, but the Coyotes are giving us everything they know.”As the third week of Mojave Viper continues, the Marines and sailors of the battalion will continue to hone their SASO skills. During the fourth and final week of Mojave Viper, the training will culminate with a final exercise, where the Marines apply everything they have learned.
Headquarters Marine Corps