Under growing pressure to ship Marines to Iraq, the Marine Corps is cutting in half the rigorous field combat training it gives units preparing to deploy, senior officers say.
The Marines hope to make up the time by intensifying this final, pre-deployment training and focusing it on skills needed to survive and prevail in Iraq's brutal combat conditions. This means practicing more nighttime operations, ambushes, city fighting and guarding of convoys.
The exercise, called a CAX in Marine lingo, has been shortened from 23 to 11 days, Col. Blake Crowe, operations officer for the Marine Corps Training Command at Quantico, Va., said in an interview
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Across the Marine Corps, the unanticipated and unbudgeted requirements of rotating fresh, well-trained troops through Iraq have forced dramatic and sometimes painful adjustments and compromises.
Man, two things happen when you don't give Marines the proper training. One, they just ain't Marines. And two, they're gonna die. My grandfather fought for the Germans in both world wars. When the Germans got desperate, training was the first thing to go. Soon we're gonna have our own Volkssturm, units made up of old men and young boys with no training handed guns and told to 'shoot in that direction'. This is ridiculous, it's stupid, and it's gonna get more of our kids killed. Fucking assholes.