Photo Information

Private First Class Nathan Culver, an engineer equipment mechanic with Engineer Support Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, removes the safety pins from an M67 fragmentation grenade in preparation to throw it aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 27, 2015. The training ensured junior Marines still remembered how to handle a live grenade, and also served as a refresher for more seasoned Marines who haven’t used these skills in quite some time.

Photo by Cpl. Scott Whiting

8th ESB makes some noise at grenade range

1 Apr 2015 | Cpl. Scott Whiting Defense Media Activity

The sounds of deafening explosions could be heard across Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, March 27, 2015, as more than 80 Marines and sailors with Engineer Support Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, threw M67 fragmentation grenades at the hand grenade range.

The Marines and sailors received a class on how to handle and throw the live grenades. Afterwards, they lined up to rehearse throws using two M69 practice hand grenades. The “blue body” grenades, as they are referred to, simulate a live M67 fragmentation hand grenade, but are non-lethal, making them ideal for training. 

“We had one minor incident while throwing the blue bodies,” said Sgt. Gage Kono, a heavy equipment lot foreman with the company. “One of the Marines dropped the practice grenade into the pit, so we had to perform our remedial action for that situation.”

The safety officers for the range are responsible for throwing the Marine or sailor out of the pit if the grenade is dropped, in order to protect them from the explosion, according to Kono. 

“I was working the pit where the Marine dropped the practice grenade,” said Kono, a native of Bremerton, Washington. “I tackled him out of the pit, because in the case of a live grenade, it’s my job to make sure he receives as little shrapnel as possible.”

After each Marine successfully handled and threw two practice grenades, they all got the chance to throw a live, M67 fragmentation grenade. A Marine went to each of the four pits and threw their grenades one-by-one. 

Since they are a support company, the Marines rarely get a chance to throw grenades. 

“The whole point of this training is to give our younger Marines some confidence,” said Kono. “Properly handling a live grenade gives them confidence in themselves, in their (non-commissioned officers), and to the other Marines to their left and right. They need to be able to trust each other if the time does ever come where they need to know how to throw a real grenade.”