LCpl Honda is currently training for an upcoming deployment. Since I am always interested in what he is doing, I decided to ask him some questions and get his take on the training he is receiving.
Predeployment training is very intense and designed to teach the Marines what conditions could arise on a combat deployment. Marines train in realistic towns with actual Iraqi people playing citizens and terrorists alike. These “actors” prepare the Marines to react a certain way when they are deployed to places like Iraq and Afghanistan. It is vital that the Marines learn how to interact and in turn to watch the reactions of the people playing these parts in order to ensure the most utmost safety conditions.
Marines learn how to conduct raids under live fire-like conditions. They learn the safest ways of securing a town or building. One technique is using buddy rushing by running and covering each other while advancing on a target. A squad may start out together but end split up into two “buddies” teams.
Jumping out of helicopters is another vital training exercise because that might be the only means of getting the Marines to a location. Marines are trained to slide down a fast rope and be able to land without injuring themselves on the ground. They are instructed on how to deal with the rotor wash air coming down from the rotors and the brownout dirt that is kicked up from the ground. LCpl Honda says that the instructors are very good at helping the Marines to jump successfully.
LCpl Honda says that the most important thing about the training is working together. This has been emphasized since the Marines were recruits in Boot Camp. “You have to look out for the guy next to you and he has the do the same,” said LCpl Honda. The training is really a dress rehearsal for the actual theater.
The Marines have no idea what will happen during training. There could be a riot, a sniper on a roof, or a terrorist hold-up in a building. The element of surprise prepares them to expect anything during deployment. Better to make a mistake during training than during actual combat situations.
I asked LCpl Honda if he felt he was ready for deployment. “Well,” he said, “I am not through with training yet so not quite.” but he continued, “I will be.” He also said that most of the Marines feel the same way as him.
He closed with, “We get the best training possible.” and more importantly, he added, “Our leaders and instructors prepare all of us to come home.”
We will all keep LCpl Honda in our thoughts that he comes home safely.