Jesse Kelly

Jesse Kelly

30-05-2022

01:58

Between Uvalde and Ukraine and other things, there’s talk about going into rooms and urban warfare and such and people need to be clear about some things. And none of what I’m about to write is an excuse for inaction in the face of danger. Just think people should know. 1/

DISCLAIMER I am NOT an expert. At all. I was a 4 year grunt Marine where I redefined the word “average”. I’m not one of these spec ops super ninja types. There are plenty on here if you need some real experience. I know a little bit about a little bit.

When Iraq was about to kick off, we lucked out and got a new company Gunny (High ranking enlisted guy) to my unit. He was one of the the super stud types who had a lot of experience with advanced stuff we had no clue about.

His name is Devaney. Total beast. Either way, he thought we needed some urban warfare training we didn’t have, so he decided to teach us a lesson. He lined up a night training thing for us on the base. (29 Palms).

We were told we were going to breach a building and clear it. That was the exercise. That’s it. It was a night but no problem. We were told there’d be like 10 guys inside. No civilians to worry about. No biggie, right?

We weren’t worried. We were infantry Marines. Thought we were real tough and all that. Plus, we found out the enemy (waiting for us in a training house) was just some military police (we don’t call them that in the Marines but it’s easier to understand).

Anyway, should be easy for us, right? Gonna go take out a bunch of fat cops in a house. We’re the toughest around. We obviously got this. Yeah, no.

Now there’s something we did back then (I don’t know if they still do) called sim rounds. You swap a couple things on your M16 (that’s what we had) and then load it out with sim rounds. They’re 9 mm (pistol) rounds with a paintball tip.

Now I need to be clear about something: These are NOT paintballs. They’ll hurt you. Bad. You catch one in the eye, you’re blind. They’ll break your skin. If you catch one in the nuts, your nut is gone. (Saw that during training. Yikes.) They hurt.

So we have sim rounds and the cops inside have sim rounds and the exercise has us breaching with a platoon at a time. That’s roughly 30 infantry Marines who think they’re tough against a bunch of fat cops.

We got slaughtered. My word. We got slaughtered. Every platoon. All war is loud but urban is so LOUD. Sound bouncing off the walls and such. Confusion. Smoke filling the air. You can’t see and can’t hear.

They train you how to clear a room and it doesn’t look like the movies. It’s ugly. You stack up in a line on the wall by the door and you signal with hands and such and you go.

Again, I’m not an expert. But the idea is you have fields of fire in the room. I take left and you take right kind of stuff. It’s more complicated than that but still, that’s basically it.

First guy button hooks through the door and next guy “crosses” which means he basically goes in the door and heads to the other side of the room to take that side. Or vice versa. Or not at all. Again, the super studs probably have way better stuff today.

It all sounds very easy and clean but you don’t think about things until you’ve done it. Even getting to the room: How do you get in the house? If you do, what’s the layout of the house? Do you know? Where are the stairs? Where’s the kitchen counter? Where’s the couch?

What obstacles have they placed in your way? Be it intentional or not. Going in the room? What if there’s a dresser behind the door? Now you’re stopped and they’re shooting you. Door booby trapped? You’re dead.

How thick are the walls? They shooting 7.62 with drywall? Well enjoy that stack on the wall before you breach cause they just might fire a burst and kill all of your buddies before you even enter the room.

And this is WITHOUT friendlies in the room. “Oh just throw a grenade.” Ok. How many kids are in that room? Women? Explosives?

We got massacred that night and it was done to us on purpose to show us we weren’t tough and we weren’t ready and we had a long way to go. We trained hour after hour after hour after that. We were ALL severely humbled.

My only point with this is people don’t understand the difficulty and peril of urban warfare. It’s the worst thing in the world. It doesn’t look like that Delta force unit you see in the movies. Just some perspective from an amateur. That’s all.


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