News: Combat engineers teach sweeping technique
Story by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels
AL HUMAYMAH, Jordan – Combat engineers assigned to Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, taught a course on locating improvised explosive devices for the Marines assigned to Company I, BLT 3/2, during Exercise Eager Lion 2013 in Al Humaymah, Jordan, June 10, 2013.
“Today we are conducting [compact metal detector] sweeping techniques,” said Cpl. Logan Jones, a combat engineer team leader assigned to BLT 3/2, and Britton, S.D., native. “The CMD is capable of finding metals and non-metallic elements such as carbon rods buried in the sand. We have been fighting in a desert environment for ten years and it is best to train in the same kind of environment.”
The two Marines leading the course, Jones and Sgt. Tyler Byfield, a Mount Vernon, Wash., native and combat engineer squad leader assigned to BLT 3/2, crafted various threats to show the Marines how simple the trigger mechanisms can be. Byfield stressed that even little pieces of trash, such as the metal lining in packs of cigarettes, can be used in the construction of pressure plates.
“We have four lanes set up with simulated IEDs, pressure plates, and casings,” said Jones “There are also some common pieces of trash that would be found in the battlefields to show not everything found will be dangerous.”
Although highly trained in the skillsets to detect IEDs, combat engineers cannot always provide Marines will this skill during every unit’s patrol. The solution to this quandary is to train Marines from the various companies in these skills, so that someone is always available.
“Engineers are trained extensively to operate these metal detectors, but engineers are not always available,” said Jones. “That is why infantry is trained and required to learn how to operate the CMD as well.”
Being proactive instead of reactive is a mark of pride for Marines. Marines are always ready and eager to learn, especially when it comes to saving lives.
“I have full confidence in my skillsets and capabilities, but the more the Marines learn to prevent any sort of casualties, the better,” said Seaman Laurence Lau, a Dallas, Texas, native, and Company I corpsman. “Any day I don’t have to execute the skillsets of my job is a good day for myself and the Marines.”
The simple techniques taught, if retained, will provide valuable lifesaving skills for future operations.
“I hope the Marines retain the basic knowledge of the CMD and the basic fundamentals of sweeping,” said Jones. “This training these Marines are receiving today can, and will, save lives.”
Exercise Eager Lion 2013 is an annual, multinational exercise designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships and enhance security and stability in the region by responding to modern-day security scenarios.