News: Engineers practice route clearance
Story by Lance Cpl. John McCall
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines with Mobility Assault Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, conducted improvised explosive device lane training here, July 27. The training allowed Marines to become familiar with the Gizmo mine detector, a new device created for combating IEDs.
“This training is an opportunity for newer Marines to get hands on experience with the equipment,” said Cpl. Nicholas Edmison, 21, a combat engineer from Red Wing, Minn. “You can never train too much on these things. It’s just like any weapons system you want every Marine to be able to pick one up and know how to use it properly.”
Long stretches of dirt were marked off with white tape forming lanes that contained buried metal objects. Some objects were just pieces of scrap metal while others were parts of improvised explosive devices or mines similar to those found in Afghanistan.
After detecting something in the ground, Marines practiced techniques to gain positive identification of the item and decide if it was a threat.
“I feel more comfortable using the detector now, you can learn how to use it pretty quick,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Garza, 28, a combat engineer from Kingsville, Tex. “Doing training like this helps us stay proficient with the job.”
Engineers with experience using mine detectors in Afghanistan stressed to junior Marines the importance of route clearance in a combat zone.
“When we deploy we need to know how to use these detectors becau
se if we don’t it could cost another person their life,” said Lance Cpl. Doniver Hamilton, 21, a combat engineer from Whiteville, N.C.
After being deployed to Afghanistan last summer, Edmison took what he had learned from his experiences there and applied them to instructing fellow Marines on how to properly use the detector.
“We try to teach other Marines besides engineers how to do this,” Edmison said. “Everyone that goes to a combat zone should know this skill.”
1st CEB will take part in further pre-deployment training at enhanced Mojave Viper, the Marine Corps’ premiere desert training for units headed to Afghanistan.