MOUT Training Exercise With UNH ROTC by ROTC
[by CDT Vikram Mittal] When UNH asked our battalion to supply people to act as insurgents and hostages, I jumped at the opportunity.
[by CDT Vikram Mittal, MIT ’09 Mechanical Engineering PhD Candidate]
The University of New Hampshire ROTC program recently organized a MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) training exercise. Twenty insurgents were holding five hostages in an abandoned prison, and they were to rescue them. Of course, they were not going to use live ammo – simply paintballs. I hadn’t played paintball since I was in high school almost a decade ago. And when I played back then, it was an unorganized free-for-all, resembling an Unreal Tournament. So when UNH asked our battalion to supply people to act as insurgents and hostages, I jumped at the opportunity.
The prison is fairly far away from MIT, but UNH had arranged for us to travel in style – on a Chinook helicopter. As we boarded the bird at Endicott, I knew we were in for a bumpy ride. The weather conditions were far from ideal, and the ride was a bit shaky. The cadet next to me vomited up a Snickers bar that he had eaten during take off. But I was too busy focusing on the view out the window (and out the back door when it was open). The view was breathtaking – we were flying over the orange and red mountains of New Hampshire.
We landed at the prison, and quickly set up our defensive perimeter. We had 20 cadets, so we split into two groups. My team was stationed outside of the prison, patrolling the perimeter. I was in a small shack with another MIT cadet where we set up an ambush. It began to snow lightly and the scenery can only be described as being like that old Duke Nukem video game.
After a little bit of waiting, we saw a Chinook arrive and deposit a platoon of UNH cadets. The cadets were progressing towards the prison and walked next to our shack, and we opened fire. We lit up a few of them before they fell back and took cover. They then threw a paintball grenade at us, but they under threw it. It ended up rolling back to them. They then charged our position, and took out myself and my buddy. We were then searched and told to wait in a nice warm bus until everyone else was done.
After a little while, all the retired MIT cadets were resurrected and we were ordered to launch a counter-attack. We stormed the prison and retook a few rooms. However, we then stumbled upon a large group of UNH cadets who quickly demolished us. We found out that our insurgency group had managed to hold our position pretty well despite being outnumbered 4 to 1. However, in the end, they couldn’t hold the position.
We cleaned up and went through an after-action review, where the cadre explained what we had done wrong. We then boarded onto a van and headed back down to Boston. What a way to spend a Friday!