News: Rockets, bombs, armor: 8th ESB trains with 2nd Tracks
Story by Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Marines with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group trained newer members of the unit, as well as Marines with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, in the basics of demolitions during a field operation here, July 29 to 31.
The service members used expedient charges – bombs – which were made in the field using on-hand materials and C-4 explosives. Among the explosives employed were wall- and door-breaching charges, anti-personnel charges and obstacle-clearing Bangalore torpedoes.
“The Marines were getting hands-on training with the expedient demolitions,” said Sgt. Daniel B. Wiggins, a combat engineer with the battalion. “[They were learning] what goes into the explosives and how they’re made. They were very excited to get [hands-on training] because a lot of the Marines, especially from [2nd Tracks], don’t use explosives at all so it was a good experience for them.”
Following the demolition training, the Marines with 8th ESB and 2nd Tracks boarded several Assault Amphibious Vehicles and crossed the New River on their way to a range for a different type of explosive: rockets.
The service members were joined by Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd MARDIV and learned to fire Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapons, or SMAWs.
“We fired about 65 rockets, which is unheard of around here,” said Cpl. Jacob H. Meese, a combat engineer with 8th ESB. “We got to get together and shoot the SMAWs, which I had never even seen before. It was really cool to fire a live rocket, and I’m sure I’ll never get to do that again.
Several Marines expressed a desire for further cooperative exercises to expand knowledge among all units in case one is unavailable for a particular mission.
“We would like to do more joint operations with other units,” said Wiggins, a native of Zanesville, Ohio. “[Because of] the drawdowns in the Marine Corps, it’s kind of hard to use our own assets so we try to incorporate other units so everyone can get mixed training.”
The operation gave Marines an opportunity to share their expertise and understanding with others and build the skills of fellow service members.
“Some people don’t understand much at all about [demolitions],” said Meese, a Broken Arrow, Okla., native. “It’s really cool when people come up to you, ask about your [military occupational specialty] and they’re really interested. To you it’s normal, but to them it’s a whole new world.”