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U.S. Marines brace themselves during urban mobility breaching training as part of the Infantry Assault Course on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 16.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Angela Wilcox

Urban structures no obstacle for last class of 0351 assaultmen

22 Jan 2020 | Lance Cpl. Angela Wilcox Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Marines with Bravo Company, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry - West, executed urban mobility breaching as part of the Infantry Assault Course on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Jan. 16.

The 16 students are currently making their way through the last Infantry Assault Course the Marine Corps’ West Coast Infantry Training Battalion will hold.

Students measured and cut materials for different charges. Once constructed, students attached charges to doors throughout the simulated course. Marines utilized all the training they had gone through up to this point, running through realistic scenarios of what assaultman may encounter in the battle field. The Marines also used the opportunity to enhance their urban operations skills, clearing each room of the structure after the charges went off.

“Doing room clearing and doing (military operations in urban terrain) training like this is such a critical part of not only our job, but across the infantry, whether you are a rifleman or a machine gunner,” said Pfc. Alec Thornton, a student in the course and a native of Eagle Point, Oregon.

The 0351 military occupational specialty for which the students are training is often described as a cross between a rifleman and a combat engineer. All students in the course are already trained as basic infantrymen before being separated into courses specific to their military occupational specialties.

“This MOS is very unique because we are very versatile,” explained Staff Sgt. Logan Kennedy, a combat instructor with the course with ITB, SOI-West. “We can have an urban mobility breaching asset, which is what the students are learning today… we also supply a rocket as well.”

The infantry assault MOS is currently being phased out by the Marine Corps, and training for it on both coasts is coming to a halt.

This urban mobility breaching came with a bittersweet overtone to the instructors, as this was the last time they lead young Marines through this training evolution on Range 211A.

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