Baltimore, Md. --
Aisha Green stood completely still as artillery rounds exploded in front of her. Standing at barely 5 feet 3 inches, the 17-year-old Baltimore native made ready her AT-4, a shoulder-fired rocket launcher, as she and the rest of her squad held their fighting position in a dark desert valley on the morning of Oct. 12.
Once the bombardment stopped and the smoke cleared, enemy troops poured into the valley, firing and moving toward their position. With rounds whizzing past her, Green remained calm and waited for the enemy to get closer.
Suddenly, a cluster of enemy troops sprung up and sprinted toward her. Green fired the rocket launcher. She missed; the rocket sailed over the heads of the enemy. It was her only rocket. With ammunition running low, it was only a matter of time until she and the rest of her squad was killed or taken captive.
“Alright, you’re done,” yelled a voice from behind. The screen froze and fluorescent lights flickered on above them. Green and the two comrades in her squad were not in a combat zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan. In fact, they are not even Marines…yet. They are actually members of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Baltimore’s Delayed Entry Program (often referred to as “poolees” by their recruiters) and they were inside of 4th Combat Engineers Battalion’s headquarters, located in Parkville, Md.
Green and 35 other members of RS Baltimore’s DEP took turns playing through a simulation in 4th CEB’s Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer (ISMT) facility. The ISMT is a three dimensional simulation-based trainer for indoor use capable of instruction in basic and advanced marksmanship, shoot/no-shoot judgment, combat marksmanship and weapons employment tactics.
Green, who is currently a senior at Franklin High School, shot better than most of the males on the different weapons.
“I wanted to shoot the rocket launcher,” said Green. “I really liked it. If I could do it as a job, I would.”
Throughout the day, groups of three took turns going through a simulation in which they defended a position in a desert valley from an enemy attack. Each person chose between two M16A2 service rifles, one with a M302 grenade launcher attached, or an AT-4. Each weapon functions as it normally would with the exception of being able to fire live ammunition. Instead, each weapon has a rubber tube going into it that uses compressed air to produce recoil when they pull the trigger. Users would lie prone or kneel in front of a large projector screen where the simulation would play out much like a video game. Speakers set up throughout the room would boom with the sounds of explosions and rifle fire. Recruiters from RS Baltimore operated the ISMT while offering advice to their poolees.
The recruiters also spent time during the day taking their poolees around 4th CEB’s headquarters, showing them the different armored tactical vehicles typically used by Marines who are deployed overseas.
Sgt. Kevin Lundeen, a canvassing recruiter with Recruiting Sub-Station Towson and a native of Chicago, helped organize the training event because he wanted to increase the camaraderie among his poolees and have them get more face time with their recruiters.
“I think it gives them a greater concept of a Marine – every Marine is a rifleman,” said Lundeen. “It reinforces the ideology of brotherhood, and it helps maintain a commitment with the poolees.”