Hawaii Marines train relief workers
By Sgt. Richard W. Holtgraver
| Marine Corps Base Hawaii | October 05, 2000
MCB Hawaii --
A convoy of trucks carrying water and food for starving people in a war ravaged country slowly moves down a dense, jungle road.
The convoy stays close together as it approaches a bend. Just as the lead vehicle starts into the curve, it explodes into a ball of fire. The lead vehicle contained the leader of the convoy who is now, most certainly, dead. What?s the rest of the convoy supposed to do?
Scenarios and questions like this one were posed to 26 students during a five-day course called Safety in Insecure Environments, taught at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, and at Marines Corps Training Area Bellows to members of an organization called World Vision.
?World Vision is one of many humanitarian aide organizations that deploys staff to some of the most dangerous places in the world,? said Rogers. ?The purpose of this training course is to give the staff the skills, sense and knowledge to protect themselves, and save their lives.?
World Vision students were given three days of theoretical discussion on what to do in hostage situations, how to handle border guards, roadblocks and convoy ambushes. Then they went to MCTAB to practice what they learned.
Personnel of World Vision ran a majority of the course, but Marines from Explosive Ordnance Disposal gave classes on mine detection and booby traps.
Gunnery Sgt. Kurt Eades, explosive ordnance disposal technician, gave students classes on how to identify, and maneuver around land mines and booby traps.
At MCTAB, Eades prepared a trail of mines and booby traps that the students had to navigate through.
?When we brought them out into the field to the trail, we set up traps that we had gone over in class so they could identify them in the natural environment,? said Eades.
Marines weren?t the only ones helping the World Vision students during their field training exercises. Approximately 10 drama student volunteers from Leeward Community College participated by role playing terrorist, border patrols and convoy victims during the two days of field exercises.
The culmination of the training exercise came on Thursday when the World Vision students were given five jeeps and a route they had to follow on MCTAB.
Without knowing what to expect, the students drove through the course slowly.
An ambush was set up as the first trouble area for the convoy, followed by a checkpoint held by guerilla soldiers (drama students.)
Harassment from the checkpoint soldiers proved realistic to many of the participants who were forced out of their vehicles at gunpoint while they were subjected to personal and vehicle searches.
The most difficult area of the day for the convoy was set up by EOD in a wooded area of MCTAB.
Vehicular booby traps, smoke grenades, explosions and false alarms were packed into a 100-yard stretch of dirt road for the students get through.
?Up until the convoy got to our position everything seemed to go very well,? said Eades. ?But once they started getting explosions, smoke and whatever else we did to them, all the training they had went out the door. Their main concern was to get out of the area that was bad.?
Despite problems during certain sections of the field exercises, the student felt they had gained some valuable information during the course.
?I think it?s excellent,? said Chris Hennemeyer, a representative for the Catholic Relief Services in Haiti. ?I?ve been to lots of workshops and training seminars in my career with the relief agency, and this is one of the best.?
With the completion of the course last Friday the World Vision students had invaluable knowledge of what to do in dangerous situations as they try to provide relief for starving people throughout the world.
Worldvision1- Nicholas Petty, a Leeward Community College education/drama student, portrays a wounded scout driver while a jeep belonging to the student convoy drives by during an exercise for World Vision students last week at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows.
Worldvision2&3-Smoke fills the air as the jeep convoy passes through a simulated hostile environment with smoke grenades and explosions set up, and set off by explosive ordnance technicians from Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay and Combat Service Support Group 3.
Worldvision4- Garrick Puikai, a Leeward Community College film screenwriting student, frisks a World Vision trainee at a simulated roadblock in hostile territory.
Worldvision5- Lauren J. Kaawa, a Leeward Community College theatre major, holds a World Vision trainee who posed as the leader of the convoy during a road block exercise as part of the Safety in Insecure Environments training at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows last week.
Worldvision6- Garrick Puikai, a Leeward Community College film screenwriting student, yells at the occupants of a jeep during a road block exercise.