News: Engineer Company Marines learn C-IED fundamentals
Story by Lance Cpl. Unique B. Roberts
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — More than 100 Marines with Engineer Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, conducted counter-improvised explosive device training at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 11 – 12.
During the training, the Marines learned the necessary skills to recognize and help eliminate IEDs in a combat environment.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, IEDs caused more casualties than all other weapon systems combined, according to Staff Sgt. Jessie C. McDonald, an engineer assistant with MWSS-271.
“The skills these Marines are learning are important because it reinforces the training the Marines have already had,” said McDonald. “The training also prepares them for operations in a forward environment.”
The Marines learned how to properly use detection equipment, such as holly sticks and compact metal detectors, to confirm IED placement, said McDonald. “The gear is essential because it confirms the presence of an IED.”
The Marines also reviewed how to conduct mounted patrols, weapons safety and IED awareness techniques.
During combat operations, Marines constantly look for threats that would affect the mission. IEDs are usually hidden from plain view, so Marines look for signs of IED placement, such as disturbed earth or out-of-place items.
Once a Marine has identified a possible IED, the area is cleared of personnel and equipment. A trained Marine then uses IED detection equipment to confirm the IED before requesting assistance from explosive ordnance disposal technicians.
While the Marines learned of IED awareness and responsiveness, they also grew closer as a unit, which increases their effectiveness in their overall mission.
“By reinforcing small unit leadership, team building skills, and overall comprehension of IED detection and mounted and un-mounted patrols, it allows the Marines to strengthen unit cohesion,” said McDonald.
The culminating event consisted of a vehicle-mounted patrol, where the Marines encountered multiple IED scenarios.
“The training has been going pretty well,” said Cpl. Johnnie D. Raulerson, a metalworker with MWSS-271. “We don’t get the opportunity to train like this all the time, but it teaches our junior Marines things that are essential in the Marine Corps.”
C-IED training is important, not just for the Marines of Engineer Company, but for each Marine deployed in a combat environment, according to Raulerson.
“This information is important to everyone in the Marine Corps,” said Raulerson. “It could save everyone’s life. As a welder, I have deployed twice to Afghanistan – you never know when you’re going to get pulled to fight overseas and that’s why it’s important.”