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thedrifter
08-20-08, 08:38 AM
Marines employ innovative training techniques for war on terror
NBC News

Major changes for Marines getting ready to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

They're discovering that some of the older methods of training are becoming outdated.

A distraction, perhaps, from what these Marines should be seeing this insurgent sniper hiding and ready to shoot. It may seem like a typical day in Fallulah or Kabul, except this is camp Pendleton and these are Marines, taking part in a new type of training to better prepare them for what is increasingly becoming a new kind of war.

"It's not like back in World War Two, trench fighting. This training is about using your brain," said Lance Corporal Justin Now.

And using it to read the body language of modern-day enemy soldiers, who are rarely obvious in appearance, especially from far away. It's a reality that's prompted many Marines to refer to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as 4th generation warfare.

"Fourth generation warfare is understanding that it's not going to be a uniformed force that we're going to be fighting," Thomas Layou of the U.S. Marine Corp.

Gunnery sergeant Thomas Layou says he was skeptical at first of this training where Marines dress in costumes and role play while the others hide in the hills and try to read what's going on and make decisions on what to do, not based on anyone's race or their clothes, but on their body language.

"To me a body language would be something that you would train. Maybe a lawyer or a business man that would be interested in that," said Layou.

Now Layou, along with others, says having this training earlier could have saved countless lives.

"The beauty of it is the simplicity," said Combat Hunter Training instructor, Greg Williams, Head instructor.

Williams says there are certain signs all people give that are the same whether you're in Kansas or Khandahar.

"A person that's agitated, a person that's passive or aggressive, a person that's mission-focused, they're going to give-off a certain set of signals and those signals are much better than language," said Williams.

Williams is a former police officer and big game hunter. He's sought help from marines who grew up in inner cities as well as rural areas to develop skills they refer to as hunting their enemy.

The combat hunter training program focuses on enhanced observation, combat profiling and combat tracking.

"It's everything from transfer evidence like a shoe impression or a tire impression to things like retinal scan and fingerprints to things like human behavior patterns," Williams said.

Marines say a common scene in Iraq or Afghanistan is a marketplace like this one, but here they're taught to monitor who shops here. Is it the majority of the town or just a few people, the same people coming in and out every day.

"We're going to know more what to look for, and just mostly to stay vigilant," said Lance Corporal Justin Now.

Staying vigilant while coming from a country with some of the best technology sometimes means thinking low tech -- getting back to basics in a time when it matters most.

Ellie