Going out with a bang - Explosive Ordnance Disposal demolition range

26 Aug 2021 | Lance Cpl. Alex Fairchild The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

As rain poured down during the early morning hours at Camp Hansen, nothing could deter the explosive ordnance demolition technicians with Marine Corps Base Camp Butler EOD from accomplishing their mission - to practice and implement the utilization of nonstandard demolition techniques on Aug. 18.

EOD technicians conducted a demolition range to increase proficiency in using nonstandard demolition techniques including drop-charge detonations, time-fuse setups and a robotics platform to remotely emplace charges. The day-long training gave both new and seasoned technicians the chance to practice methods that utilize minimal explosives in order to facilitate desired outcomes on a different number of targets and devices.

“The training is all about getting repetitions in and learning from each other.” Sgt. Julian Mora Garzon, EOD technician with Marine Corps Base Camp Butler EOD.

“Not only did we have combat-experienced technicians here to facilitate and practice the techniques, we also had the newer technicians come out to learn something new," said Sgt. Julian Mora Garzon, EOD technician with Marine Corps Base Camp Butler EOD.

Mora Garzon, a native of Kissimmee, Florida, explained that the purpose of the training was to build charges with explosives and employ the charges in order to see the effectiveness of the methods used. In addition, technicians were able to carry explosives to remotely employ them in a variety of ways including a robotics platform.

The robots used in the training were a Foster-Miller TALON, an XM1216 Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle and an iRobot 110 FirstLook. EOD technicians attached explosives to the robots, guided them to their target using a tablet-based software, deposited the explosive on the target, and remotely detonated the explosive using a shock-tube once the robots were guided to safety.

“Whether it is in training or in combat, the robots keep us safe,” said Sgt. Jose Gonzalez, an EOD technician with Marine Corps Base Camp Butler EOD. “We build the charges, attach them to the robots, and remotely detonate them. Not only is it enjoyable to operate them, it is training crucial to our operation that sharpens our combat effectiveness.”

Gonzalez, a native of Port Chester, New York, explained that the training also included drop-charge remote detonation in which technicians would build a charge attached to a shock-tube and aim the explosive toward the target. The technicians would then safely and remotely detonate the explosive using the shock-tube to neutralize their target.

“This training supports our mission at MCIPAC by developing and enhancing the skills of our EOD technicians,” said Mora Garzon. “When we collaborate, we learn a lot from each other by accomplishing the goal and combining our experiences.”