Marine Corps Makes Mock Afghan Village at Bellows

Alan Crouch
Alan Crouch
Marines train at the "Afghan village" facility.
Marines train at the "Afghan village" facility.
Dustin Broadwater
Dustin Broadwater

By Oscar Valenzuela - bio | email

WAIMANALO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Site 3, a Marine Training Area at Bellows, has been made up to look and feel like a true Afghan village. "The whole point of this facility is to provide as realistic environment as possible." explained Major Alan Crouch, the Director for Marine Corps Public Affairs at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

A full simulation was held to demonstrate the facility. A Marine Corps forward patrol comes across an enemy stronghold. The mission is then to maneuver and disengage the enemy on their home turf.

"Whenever you're training in peace time, when ever rounds aren't flying down range, that's when you build your techniques and procedure to allow you to successfully perform in the battlefield." said Sgt. Dustin Broadwater, an infantry Marine running his squad through the course.

The complex is made to look like a third world setting made especially for Marines to confront and asses their operations.

After the first simulation Sgt. Broadwater commended his Marines on their actions. "Good run that time, we're hitting the timeline about right where we want to do it." He told them.

The Marines new enhanced military operations and urbanized training facility comes with realistic buildings, props, signage and even national role players to play the enemy, American citizen actors hired especially for this kind of training.

"They're actually from Afghanistan to get the closest that we can get before we get in theatre." said Broadwater.

The new environment replaces an old maze of containers previously used for training. Sgt. Broadwater said he had previous training at the old complex set up and told us, "It still looked like a Conex box. It was hard sometimes to get yourself in the mindset that, 'Hey, I'm in some kind of a third world country and I'm on patrol.'"

The Marines in this run through are all combat veterans with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, together they are working with civilian facilitators to make sure the scenarios are true to their real life experience in battle.

The entire complex is wired with video cameras recording every angle of each mission and providing a complete replay of everyone's actions. They able to assess what they could improve on, then they run the scenarios over and over again, making sure they are ready for the real thing.

Sgt. Broadwater summed it up best by saying, "In a real combat theatre, there is no reset button."

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