MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Approximately 30 Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and nine Marines with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment participated in an urban demolitions range at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, July 10.
The range was the fourth and final day of a demolitions training package being conducted in preparation for an upcoming deployment to Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa that the two units will be partnered on.
“If we’re in combat trying to enter a house or compound with doors, windows, walls, etc., we can breach explosively, creating shock and awe for the enemy on the inside and then we can move our forces in,” said 1st Lt. Connor McCubrey, a platoon commander with Company C, 2nd CEB.
The teams first assembled charges for various applications, including windows, doorways, a wall and a fence. Once the charges were assembled, instructors with 2nd CEB inspected them to ensure they were assembled correctly and that participants would be safe when they were detonated.
After the charges were approved, three teams of Marines sprinted to a wall where windows, doorways and other obstacles were staged for the teams to breach through.
Once a charge was set, the entire team crouched behind one another, with the front man holding a protective blanket up to shield them from the blast and flying debris.
The range also gave senior Marines a chance to work with those fresh out of their military occupational specialty school and allowed them to show them the ins and outs of urban breaching.
“We have a lot of new Marines who just came from engineer school,” said Cpl. Romelo Tolentino, a combat engineer with the battalion. “At the schoolhouse they don’t teach urban demolitions, so these new Marines don’t have hands-on experience, which can be very dangerous in a close environment like this.”
At the conclusion of the range the Marines cleared the area of all debris and ordnance, ensuring that this tradition of training safely with explosive materials can continue.
“During the upcoming deployment Marines must be prepared to respond to any number of situations and execute a wide range of missions, from reinforcing an embassy to participating in multilateral exercises and offering instruction through small team security cooperation,” said McCubrey. “The demo package we completed is simply one piece of what we can offer to the infantry but plays into our overall mission of providing both mobility and counter-mobility to the supported units.”