Monday, July 11, 2005

Photoblog - Marines MOUT training

After an already-busy morning, I wound up heading out to one of Fort Knox's proudest fixtures: the Zussman Urban Combat training center, one of the U.S. military's premier MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) sites. I shot photos of Marine Reserve Company E, 4th Tank division, working on anti-insurgent operations in driving rain. Here are some photos:

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Two Abrams tanks headed down the south road to gain position on the site of a "disabled" M-113 personnel carrier. The bridge in the center is rigged to "blow," and comes complete with pyrotechnics and hydraulics to simulate.

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Marines dragged a simulated casualty of sniper fire behind the cover of some disabled vans. The vehicles might have provided some cover from small-arms fire...

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But not from mortar fire, which the insurgents "walked" onto their position. Several more Marines were assessed as casualties after this hit.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a rocket-propelled grenade strike:

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It was exciting to watch real training again after so long. I used to cover 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment's exercises on the Korea Training Center back when I was in 2ID, and strangely enough, I ran into a major who used to work as their operations officer shortly before I headed out to Zussman today. I was waiting to do a retirement interview with our post command sergeant major (who gave me his coin afterward), and I noticed the familiar namestrip. He looked at me and squinted with vague recognition -- "You're a reporter, aren't you?"

"Yes, sir," I said. "I think I know you from Korea, sir... 4/7 Cav?"

"That's right! I knew I remembered you from somewhere!"

It's strange to shoot the breeze with staff officers, but sometimes it happens. He said his squadron had always been excited when the Indianhead staff came up to cover 4/7's live-fires, and I thanked him for having made it easy for us to do, since he'd always made a point of facilitating any coverage we wanted for the paper.

So in the spectrum of Mondays, which are known usually for running from bad to worse, this one was pretty damn good. I should be in good shape tomorrow as well, since I got most of my deadline stuff done today. We'll see, however. Wrenches have a tendency of being thrown into the works when deadlines get close, hence the saying, "another deadline, another miracle."


UPDATE: Taking advantage of Mudville's Open Posting! Thanks, Greyhawks!