Photo Information

Marines of General Support Platoon, Military Police Support Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, breach and enter a house during a movement on urban terrain exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Oct. 7, 2010. The primary focus of the exercise was to test the Marines’ MOUT capabilities, with an emphasis on tactical site exploitation.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Bryan J. Nygaard

Military Police Support Co. practices tactical site exploitation

7 Oct 2010 | Lance Cpl. Bryan J. Nygaard

Eight humvees moved down the road in a tactical column toward a house on the edge of town. The humvees stopped within 200 feet of their destination and Marines quickly emerged from the vehicles. They moved quietly against the windowless side of the house so that they could better conceal their movements. They halted near the door and waited for the command.

“GO! GO! GO! GO!”

The Marine at the front of the fire team kicked in the door as the rest of the Marines rushed inside. They moved from room to room, looking for insurgent role players. Although they were unable to find any, they didn’t come up empty-handed. The Marines found simulated bomb making materials.

Thirty Marines from General Support Platoon, Military Police Support Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, participated in a movement on urban terrain training exercise, also known as MOUT, Oct. 7, 2010, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“Our primary focus was MOUT, with emphasis on tactical site exploitation [TSE],” said Sgt. Brian Norwood of GS Platoon.

Tactical site exploitation involves the identification and gathering of weapons, bomb making materials and any documents that might contain valuable intelligence.

“When prosecuting an enemy or detainee, it’s not enough to say that he’s a bomb-maker,” said 1st Lt. Jared Gastrock, commander of GS Platoon. “Once we clear an area, we have to gather evidence to form a case against the individual who we believe to be the enemy, so they can be tried in a judicial process.”

The Marines of GS Platoon did not breach the door of the house alone. Corporal Jesse Makela, a military working dog handler with MP Support Co., was accompanied by Rocky, a specialized search dog, who is a valuable asset in these types of missions.

“When attached to a platoon, I’d clear a route to the house and make sure there are no explosives around it,” said Makela, adding that Rocky could then alert the unit of any concealed explosives within the building.

This training exercise is one of many to prepare the Marines of MP Support Co. for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in early 2011. The Marines received over three weeks of training, both in the classroom and in the field, to prepare for the MOUT exercise. 

“These Marines are knowledgeable in multiple areas such as convoy operations, MOUT, TSE, base security and foot patrols,” boasted Sgt. Michael J. Diaz of GS Platoon. “We want them to be as effective as possible. I feel confident enough after my Marines complete training that they can do anything.”