Marines enhancing urban training site at Bellows

The Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain facility in Waimanalo
The Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain facility in Waimanalo
Warrant Officer Chris Harris
Warrant Officer Chris Harris
Wilson Ho
Wilson Ho

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

WAIMANALO (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's called the Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain facility -- MOUT for short. When it's completed this summer the training battleground at Bellows will put Marines in places they're likely to face where they're deployed to hot spots around the globe.

"Allowing them to have an environment where they're immersed in before they get to Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever it is they need to go is critical to preparing them to execute their next mission," Warrant Officer Chris Harris said.

Marines built the first MOUT out of shipping containers. The modules are being modified with pre-cast concrete walls.

They can be configured to simulate communities troops encounter when engaging civilians and adversaries.

"You've got a community that has a school, a medical center, it has some kind of a religious facility, here it's a mosque. so it really mimics every community that you'd see around the world in second and third world countries," Harris said.

The Marine Corps has a $28 million budget to build on the site.

Waimanalo neighborhood board chairman Wilson Ho said some Waimanalo residents oppose where the structures have been set up.

"We know that there are burial sites there," he said. "The Hawaiians had a history of just going in the sand and burying their dead."

The Marines said they've remained sensitive to cultural concerns while building at Bellows. They said the site sits on a small footprint of the overall area.

After construction is complete avatars and smell generators will be installed.

"You can have one area that generates a smell that would similar to an agricultural environment, one that would generate the smell of cooking, one that generates the smell of trash," Harris said.

The Marine Corps said urbanized terrain facilities give Marines a head start that can save lives.

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