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1/3 conducts final CHB-4 exercise

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Marines with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, conducted the Clear, Hold, Build-4 portion of their Enhanced Mojave Viper training Monday at Range 215’s military operations on urban terrain town.

This CHB-4 was the last to be conducted as EMV,which is being replaced by Integrated Training Exercise as the required deployment training. This makes 1/3 the last Marines to go through EMV.

“It’s great to be able to say you’ve been through this and done it,” said Cpl. Edward Smolko, squad leader, weapons platoon, Company A, 1/3. “It’s really good training.”

CHB-4 is a complex training cycle that was designed to effectively prepare Marines for combat environments.

“This is the last Enhanced Mojave Viper we will be doing before the shift to ITX in the spring,” said Capt. David M. Mitchell, officer in charge, team 4, Tactical Training Exercise Control Group. “ITX seeks to maintain the core competencies of the Marine Corps Doctrine while preparing units deploying to Operation Enduring Freedom.”

The 72-hour exercise evaluated the 1/3 Marines on their abilities to handle different obstacles they encountered on a variety of missions on the range. Marines dealt with simulated enemy fire, improvised explosive devices as they cleared the area of insurgents, held the areas they’d secured and launched general security operations.

“Our task right now is to go into this village,” Smolko said. “We are trying to help the local government get their foothold back with this town and get the Taliban out of here so that everyone can live peacefully.”

In the streets of the MOUT town, roamed Afghan role players, who provided a realistic overseas environment.

The role players took parts as anything from civilians to insurgents. The Marines learned to deal with language barriers and cultural differences, all the while being able to conduct their operations safely.

“It’s pretty realistic. I think it’s really good for the new guys to get out there and see how things really work,” Smolko said. “You get pretty much the exact thing you’d experience.”

Cherry pickers are scenario inserts that require a Marine or Marines to become a simulated casualty or casualties to prepare the exercise force Marines to properly assess and execute the situation."

1/3 Marines proved themselves capable as they rushed to their comrades to provide medical care and evacuated them for further treatment.

The next time 1/3 Marines return to the Combat Center before a deployment, they will find EMV to be long gone and replaced by ITX.

“You never know what’s going to happen wherever you go. It just prepares you for every situation you might encounter,” Smolko said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what they change and how they improve things.”

EMV, the standard deployment training is scheduled to be replaced by ITX next year. This change is siad too to help aid in the change in the deployment environment Marines will face.

The ITX will retain much of same, or slightly modified fundamental core events found in EMV. It will still involve the 400 series live-fire ranges with platoon and company-sized attacks.

ITX will, however, have slightly different scenarios than previously in EMV. ITX will have company support with a live-fire defense the following day rather than that night.

Clear, Hold, Build-3 will become the FINEX, a battalion attack. The battalion culminates the attack on day one, set up the defense fend off the enemy. Finally they launch a counter-attack on day three.

Battalion Stability Operation will replace CHB-4. This portion will provide a replication of the current operating environment.

Marines going to OEF will have training very similar to the current CHB-4, with Afghan role players and training scenarios.

Units that will be part of the Unit Deployment Program will focus more on the skills an expeditionary unit would have to be well versed in.

“EMV and ITX have a focus on core competencies with an application on the specific techniques and procedures that are applied on the current theater,” Mitchell said. “Humanitarian assistance, disaster response, NEOs. There’s going to be a little bit more of a combination of those mission sets for a UDP or a MEU battalion inside of ITX.”

Article by Lance Cpl. Ali Azimi, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms