LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — When a person hears someone talking about loud music and flashing lights, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a dance club. But that wasn’t the case for Marines with Marine Special Operations Advisor Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, when they trained at the Direct Action Resource Center in Little Rock, Ark., from Aug. 18-30.
The Marines attended DARC in order to sharpen their skills through the advanced urban warfare, advanced tactical carbine and advanced tactical pistol courses offered by DARC.
“This training has helped me to walk away with a better understanding of close quarters battle and urban tactics,” said Staff Sgt. Shaun Cason, MARSOC. “It’s brought us up to a higher standard and higher level in the urban warfare arena.”
For the MSOAG students, the training was just as mentally challenging as it was physical.
“I can honestly say that I have a stronger grasp on the thought process that one should have when clearing a building,” said Staff Sgt Roy Archer, MARSOC. “This training gave me another style to approach CQB with.”
With a combination of loud music and the wearing of gas masks to make verbal communication difficult and hand signals essential, the Marines continually navigated down the corridors of the DARC shoot-house, making sure to meticulously clear every room along the way while dealing with the simulated chaos and fog of war.
“We endeavor to make the training as realistic as possible for the trainees,” said Caitlyn Firrantello, DARC Public Relations Advisor. “We incorporate loud music, simunitions, role players, burning cars and rocket propelled grenade simulators in our training evolutions in order to capture an essence of reality.”
DARC, which was founded 12 years ago by Richard Mason, a former Army Green Beret, has been training U.S. Government and corporate entities in numerous tactical, operational and strategic disciplines ranging from tactical parachute courses to urban survival, evasion, resistance and escape, and tactical medical courses. Their training style integrates the use of simunitions training and a realistic use of an antagonistic force with no military training.
“I wanted to build a place where guys can train as hard and realistic as possible,” said Mason. “There are many restrictions on base as far as training is concerned, so we try to give a little more freedom at DARC to allow the guys to train more realistically.”
Mason and his staff take diligent measures to collect the most recent information from the battlefield in order to structure DARC training evolutions.
“A large majority of our staff still deploys overseas in support of the Global War on Terror.” said Firrantello. “By having our instructors forward, we receive a constant flow of updated information with which to outline our training.”
Every one of the DARC instructors is a subject matter expert with real-world experience.
“Our courses are top rate because all of our instructors have combat experience and the ability to convey that info to our students,” said Firrantello.
The knowledge and real-world experiences of the instructors, the realistic training evolutions and the blending of teaching methodologies and facilities of DARC, gave the Marines of MARSOC a training experience that is sure to pay off in their future missions.