North Carolina afghan village preps Marines
Deathwalkers maybe right up there with Devil Dogs in nick names given Marines by their enemies. The village is probably cleaner and better constructed than what the Marines will see in Afghanistan. This kind of training was valuable in Iraq and should be so in Afghanistan too.
Afghan guards armed with AK-47s keep watch just outside as a village elder sits in a room with no electricity and tells a U.S. Marine:
“The Taliban are recruiting young unemployed men to plant IEDs and fight the American military.”
Cpl. Adam King sits down, sips some tea and listens attentively. What he says and what he hears could save the lives of his Marines.
This is the scene in Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina, where the 2nd Battalion 8th Marines — known as the 2/8 — have built a simulated Afghan village to prepare American troops for what they will face half a world away.
The 2/8 Marines will be traveling this summer, but they'll be going to a decidedly non-vacation spot: Afghanistan, where Taliban violence is high and the presence of any authority is low.
“It’s a different type of training,” DTS representative Read Omohundro said as Afghan experts gave Marines a list of cultural Do’s and Don’ts:
— Do Shake hands firmly.
— Do adapt to Afghan customs of personal space.
— Do Not use the left hand when communicating.
— Do Not show the soles of boots.
— Do Not speak to friendly Afghans while wearing sunglasses.
— Do Not force an Afghan's head to the ground
And most importantly …
— Do Not point, smile, gesture or speak to female Afghans.
“We want the Marines to be culturally prepared,” Omohundro said, “but if the training requires a riot, firefight or explosions, I can give them that too.”
“The Taliban know who Marines are,” said infantry Sgt. Eric Beaverson, a native of Pennsylvania. During his last tour in Afghanistan, the Taliban nicknamed him and his fellow Marines “Deathwalkers” — “because we stay and fight,” he said.
Training is what sets US forces apart from their enemies and the Marines have always been the toughest and best. That has been apparent in every war they have fought.