Marines Train to Rescue U.S. Embassy Personnel From Radicals

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Role-players "rescued" from a U.S. embassy under seige wait to board Marine aircraft at Barstow-Daggett Airport during a Marine training exercise. (Credit: Marine Corps/Cpl. John Baker)

For several days this week a portion of the Marine base at Barstow became Country X: a desert nation where a mob had taken over and personnel at the U.S. Embassy needed to be rescued.

Marines from the base at Twentynine Palms were being trained to evacuate U.S. personnel and other friendlies during moments of chaos and danger. Some Marines and civilian “role-players” acted the part of insurgents and, in some cases, civilians in need of rescue.

Non-combatant Evacuation Operations training is common for Marines. But two real-life facts may be seen as giving greater moment to the Barstow exercise.

For one thing, the exercise was underway just as Marines were assisting in the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen as Iranian-supported tribesmen seized control of the country. Embassies are prime targets for headline-grabbing takeovers in a volatile region.

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