As the Marines drive into the village, they’re not sure exactly what to expect.

Their intelligence information says the village is occupied by insurgents who have taken someone hostage. But they know the rescue operation could quickly turn into an attack.

Searching the village, the Marines find the hostage – an Iraqi soldier who has been badly beaten and tortured. He vomits blood as they carry him to the waiting vehicle.

The scenario, played out in a small mock village on this southcentral Virginia Army National Guard base, is just one of many that Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit will practice before deploying in early spring.

The unit has been training at Fort Pickett for two weeks, using information and intelligence gained from one training exercise to feed the next.

In the hostage scenario, an informant told Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment that insurgents had taken over the village and captured a man against his will, said Capt. John Moder, company commander of 1/6’s Charlie Company.

Once the Marines arrived, they found that the village “was indeed occupied by insurgents,” Moder said. (MORE)


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