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CLB-2 becomes culturally aware at the Infantry Immersion Trainer

26 Feb 2016 | Cpl. Joey Mendez II Marine Expeditionary Force

More than 50 Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 2 participated in training at the Infantry Immersion Trainer on Camp Lejeune, Feb. 23 through 26.

The Marines went through two realistic training evolutions practicing theatre security cooperation and an evacuation control center in preparation for the unit’s upcoming deployment with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa later this year.

“We have been doing two types of training. We have been training in theatre security cooperation, which is designed to work with partner nation forces in support of their training while building and maintaining relationships with those forces,” said 1st Lt. James Blake, the assistant operations officer for the unit.

“The second type of training we have been conducting is an evacuation control center, which is part of a mission set called non-combatant evacuation operations in which we can assist with a military assisted departure for either American citizens, host nation forces, or third country nationalists, from an area of instability due to hostility or humanitarian disaster.”

Training at the IIT provides the unit with a more culturally-aware experience and involves role players who speak the notional host nations’ language and a range designed to look like a native village.

“We can do this training in a landing zone and without role players, but when you put it together in a scenario as realistic as this with the environment and role players, it helps to get over that initial culture shock that might be experienced when they actually go down range,” Blake said. “It is invaluable. Language barriers and cultural shock were amongst some of the biggest challenges the Marines and sailors faced [while deployed].”

Training in such a realistic environment has tremendous value when it comes to preparing Marines and sailors to conduct theater security cooperation missions wherever they might be.

“Some of the challenges we faced this week have been due to the immersive nature of this training,” Blake said. “A lot of these Marines and sailors haven’t had the opportunity to deploy to this kind of environment or work on these particular mission sets before, so the opportunity to experience a different culture and to work with realistic role players in a realistic environment is really unique and challenging.”

Overcoming and adapting is a skill instilled in Marines from the first day of recruit training and it is exactly what the Marines used to overcome the barriers they encountered at the ITT.

“The Marines overcame challenges the same way Marines always do. They’re adaptable, flexible, work together as a team, and rely on the standard operating procedures. This is a culminating step for us,” added Blake.

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