Iraq: The Movie Set

The Marines have contracted with an outfit called Strategic Operations Inc. to train in an “Iraqi town” set up on a 20-acre movie set owned by Stu Segall Productions in San Diego, according to the April 2007 Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned newsletter, which made its way to our inbox.

Strategic Ops also has set up an Afghanistan/Iraq village at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, just north of San Diego, and the newsletter reports both sites “incorporate special effects that are designed to realistically replicate combat conditions, including simulated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) explosions, gunfire, and role players with realistic wounds. Digital audio and visual systems are used to capture the training scenarios for later analysis."

The whole operation definitely is far more advanced than the “Combat Town” I trained in during the 1960s at Camp Pendleton, which consisted of a bunch of dilapidated buildings with the only role players being my fellow Marines, who could not believe they had to attack Combat Town one more time.

The Segall set in San Diego was originally built for production of the 1991 TV detective series “Silk Stalkings” and was supposed to represent Palm Beach, Fla. Only the movie business could recycle a place in California that was supposed to look like Florida into an Iraqi village.