Friday, August 19, 2011

IBOLC Week 12: MOUT

When I first thought about joining the Army, we were still fighting house to house in Iraq. I thought for sure that that type of fighting was what I would be doing when I finally got into the fight (though now it looks more and more like that might not be the case). MOUT is by far the most fun part of Infantry training, in my opinion, so I was stoked to be doing a full week of it.

Except for of course, that I would be doing it IBOLC style.

To be fair, the training was worthwhile. After going through the usual bs classes on clearing a room and searching a detainee, and then after getting every single NCO's version of the "right way" to do everything you just learned, and then after doing it "wrong" fifty times according to every instructor and being made to do it one more time on account of "your" failures, and after NCO's bickering about who's way is better - we finally got to do some real training.

One of the best parts of the training was the padded suit fighters. We would have to clear a house with OPFOR inside wearing padded suits. We didn't know who was good and who was bad, so we had to react accordingly. The bad OPFOR would rush us and try to take our weapon while the good OPFOR would get down on the ground immediately. We then would have to subdue the guy in the padded suit. We were supposed to go 70% strength and speed, but lets face it, we're all infantrymen. It was 100% or get called out for being weak.

Another excellent training point was clearing a building with "simunitions." Simunitions are basically little paintball bullets that fire out of a real rifle and leave a much more accurate "paint" line on you when hit. The little buggers can hurt, too. I had one hit my hand and break the skin. Clearing a building is completely different with simunitions. Of course, as the most valuable part of our training, it was allocated the least amount of resources and time. We all 15 rounds and one turn through the building and called it done.

The last significant training point for me was the continuous operations aspect. We did a full 24 hours of operations into the morning, fighting our way into the city to take a building, hold the building till morning, and then exfil. I'll be honest: there were moments that I could actually imagine this being Iraq in combat.

All this would have been much more fun if I hadn't already been poisoned by the preceding weeks of fail. Oh well. Barely one month to go....

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