By Lance Cpl. Damarko Bones, 8th Engineer Support Battalion
CAMP LEJUNE, NC, United States --
Explosions went off downrange as conducted a low-order demolition range at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 17, 2017 Marines with 2nd Explosive Ordnance Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion executed the range in order to sharpen basic demolition skills while specifically focusing on low-order demolition skills.
“Low-order ranges are essential because we need to be able to burn out high-explosive ordnance without having it detonate,” said Sgt. Kyle Himes, an explosive ordnance technician with the company. “With this type of range, we can practice removing explosive hazard without having it destroy critical infrastructure around it.”
Though low-order demolitions can be used anywhere in the world, this training is usually focused with a mindset of a demolition occurring within the Continental United States.
“This training would most likely be used in CONUS operations,” Himes said. “If there was ever a range where a round went off course and landed next to a building, we would presumably have to go in and perform a low-order detonation on the ordnance to prevent it from causing damage to the building.”
On the other hand, however, the Marines don’t exclude the possibility that they could have to execute a low-order detonation outside of the U.S.
“If you were overseas and there was unexploded ordnance in a town or next to schools or houses, you would need to get rid of the explosives without sending [fragmentation] all over the place,” said Staff Sgt. Kharlange Joseph, an explosive ordnance technician with the unit. “Conducting this training shows us all of the possible ways to do that safely and achieve our goals.”
This training develops more than just the Marines’ abilities to safely detonate ordnance in a critical situation.
“While doing training like this, it is crucial to have tremendous amounts of unit cohesion. You have to be comfortable with the Marines working to your left and right,” Joseph said. “If you aren’t comfortable working with them, one small thing could go wrong, and one small thing could be deadly.”
As the skills of the Marines with 2nd EOD Company increased, the confidence of their fellow Marines increases as well.
“We have an abundance of tools and an even greater abundance of skills and knowledge that we would need to do this one task,” Himes said. “I’m extremely confident in these guys to complete this kind of mission in the real world.”