FORT A.P. HILL, Va. -- Awaiting the daily brief on their training, Marines prepare their gear and rifles before setting out on a patrol to identify and counteract improvised explosive devices that have been the cause of many casualties and deaths throughout domestic and foreign attacks. Always on the alert, Marines refined their IED awareness training April 21, 2015, aboard Fort A.P. Hill, Va., for their upcoming unit deployment program to Okinawa, Japan.
“Today’s purpose is to get familiar with IEDs,” said Lance Cpl. Brett Black, a rifleman with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment and native of Homer City, Pennsylvania. “The IED training we received consists of looking for indicators and identifying IEDs.”
Marines from 1st Bn., 2nd Marines received a basic IED course at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., two weeks ago, learning how to operate in a combat environment with the threat of IEDs, and how to counter those threats. This training helps the new Marines and refreshes familiarization for Marines who have dealt with IEDs before.
“It puts the entire company on the same page for our procedures when faced with IEDs,” said 1st Lt. Brycen Johnson, a platoon commander with Charlie Co. and native of St. Joseph, Missouri. “The Marine Corps coming out of Afghanistan and being in Iraq the last decade helped locate and disarm IEDs in both locations to protect United States personnel and foreign nationals. The Marines themselves are aware of the threat and want to know how to get those personnel to safety.”
Conducting IED exercises ensures Marines know how to react swiftly and safely in the event of an attack to minimize casualties and gain the offensive against the enemy.
“I have run through this training a couple times,” said Black. “We used these skills while we were sweeping for IEDs in Afghanistan.”
Counter-IED training is essential while deployed to assist U.S. allies as IEDs are a threat to civilian and coalition forces.
“The training brings us all together and it gets us to think tactically,” said Johnson. “This training emphasizes what it means to be an infantry Marine.”
1st Bn., 2nd Marines is scheduled to conduct bilateral training with neighboring nations later this year.
“I love my job, and I love being in the infantry,” said Black. “I’m proud to be part of the Marine Corps.”