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Combat Hunter, a program created in response to (ORCS) wounding and killing more Marines with small-arms attacks, trains Marines to use their natural senses and other hunting skills to track down and eliminate (ORCS). Marines stalk and kill (ORCS) by using their senses and instincts. (Stalking the Orc) emphasizes keen observation of Marines' surroundings and meticulous knowledge of the (ORC) habits.
"The unorthodox program draws on the expertise of an eclectic mix of consultants. There are the tracking abilities of David Scott-Donelan, a former officer in the South African Special Forces and a veteran of civil wars in Africa. Then there's African guide Ivan Carter, as well as others who would rather not be identified by the Marine Corps.
Combat Hunter grew out of a concept by Gen. James Mattis, who has spearheaded the formation of various training programs for the Marine Corps. He saw the need for greater focus on hunting-related skills while overseeing combat forces at Camp Pendleton in 2006.
“One of the things that Gen. Mattis said is that he wanted a quick turnaround for this project. There was a sense of urgency,” said Maj. James Martin, the project officer for Combat Hunter.
Lethin recalled the reason for that urgency: Too many troops felt fear when they left their bases in Anbar province, the vast western region of Iraq where Marines hold the lead combat role for the U.S. military.
“Fear is a terrible thing. The Marines felt they were being hunted. They felt they were bait for the (ORCS)” Lethin said.
Marines usually train among its prefabricated buildings and in its dirt-lined streets. But for Combat Hunter, they perch in the green hills and watch what goes on in the mock village.
From a distance of eight or more football fields away, teams of Marines learned what to look for downhill. As they peered through binoculars, the Marines tried to catalog hundreds of details to form a baseline of knowledge. Then they looked for telltale signs of (ORC) behavior.
The scenario they watched yesterday involved a mock sniper shooting an Iraqi police officer. The Marines had to tease out clues to ascertain who did what and from where. The exercise was one of 15 scenes that they will scrutinize in the next two weeks.
One goal of the training is teaching troops to unleash deadly force only after they have determined that it's warranted.
“Just because someone is a jerk does not mean we can kill them, do you got me?” said Greg Williams, a former police officer and big-game hunter as he debriefed 55 Marines from the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
“Rrrr,” the Marines replied in agreement.
“We never do trigger time unless we do brain time, do you got me?” Williams emphasized.
“Rrrr,” the Marines responded.
After a lunch break, the trainees started analyzing more complex attacks.
Some of them praised Combat Hunter for teaching them to more effectively spot insurgents – as well as roadside bombs and weapons caches – while giving them confidence to patrol day in and day out.
“I think it is absolutely critical training,” said Cpl. Andrew Moul, 25, from Hart, Mich., who will deploy to Iraq in the fall. “In Iraq right now, it is more of a security situation, and we need this skill set to keep civilians and Marines alive by making better decisions.”
Unconventional thinking about an unconventional war might make a lot of sense, said Loren Thompson, chief operating officer for the Lexington Institute, a pro-defense think tank in Arlington, Va.
“What we are learning in Iraq is that the demands of warfare in the new century are so widely different from anything for which we were planning. We have to look in unexpected places for the skills that will serve us best” Thompson said."