Guam – Operation Guahan Shield continues. Today marines practiced urban combat at the abandoned Andersen South or “Andy South” housing complex. A marine rifle company and an engineering company have been training on Andy South since Monday. Marines slept in jungles and old abandoned buildings as they practiced storming and clearing enemy buildings.
A marine rifle company comprised of about 160 marines have been simulating attacks on an engineering platoon of about 30 marines scattered throughout various buildings on the Andy South abandoned housing complex. “What we’ve done is a series of jungle paroling operations and then urban assaults, urban defenses in the area you see around you,” said Capt. Byron Johnson of the Lima Company 3rd Batallion 6th Marines.
They’ve been training on Andy South since Monday sleeping in the jungle and in the old abandoned buildings without any amenities. Today we caught up with them in a housing area they had established as a sort of headquarters. “We inserted about a kilometer up to the north on Monday and then we infiltrated through the jungle at about four p.m. on Monday. We entered the town and then we finished clearing this town in our assault at about 8p.m. on Monday. Since then, we’ve been operating out of this company perimeter right here at the western portion of this town,” explained Capt. Johnson.
From here they launched an attack. First by simulating mortar fire and then by sending in marines to a series of six large buildings that they had to clear floor by floor. “We’re using M-16’s which is a basic .556 millimeter NATO ball round, we’re using M-240 bravo’s which are our .762 millimeter medium machine guns, we have 60 milometer mortars which we’re just simulating and then we have the 83 millimeter shoulder fire multi-purpose assault weapon rockets that we’ve been using,” said Capt. Johnson.
Their weapons only fire blanks so they rely on referees called controllers to tell the players who’s wounded and who’s killed. “Our controllers will be watching and somebody is shooting in his direction and he’s out in the open then they’ll hand him a casualty card,” said Capt. Johnson.
This kind of training allows marines to sharpen their communication skills while in combat situations. We were able to hear the marines talking to each other from building to building. It also worked on their close quarters combat and it gave them many very realistic obstacles to overcome. Most of the marines training today will leave the island in a week, however; operation Guahan Shield will continue until the second week of May.