News: 1st CEB demolishes range 119
Story by Lance Cpl. John McCall
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Marines hurry into a wooden bunker and ready their initiating systems. “Fire in the hole!” is called out three times, followed by a violent boom. The ground shakes and dust fills the air as another demolition charge is detonated.
Marines with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion conducted demolition training at range 119, Aug. 21.
“The training covered basic demolition, expedient and urban,” said Sgt. Matthew Mueller, 26, a sapper instructor from Humboldt, Kansas. “A good portion of it was how to breach in an urban environment which is what Marines will be doing once in theater.”
Sappers are instructors for advanced engineering techniques.
Sapper instructors with 1st CEB gave numerous periods of instruction on the correct way to employ demolition charges and how to use other materials to create makeshift charges referred to as expedient demolition.
“If they [Marines] get a demo mission in country they will know more than one way to complete that mission and use their demo properly so no one gets hurt,” Mueller said after being asked the importance of demolition training.
Participants were split into groups to give them a chance to put together their own demolition charges.
“I learned a lot from the classes the instructors gave,” said Sgt. Joshua Gagnon, 23, an ammunition technician from Strafford, N.H. “It helped a lot getting hands on training with the different explosives.”
1st CEB is currently preparing for a tour in Afghanistan by completing a month-long desert warfare training exercise known as Enhanced Mojave Viper.
“Any Marine with a CEB should have a basic understanding of how to deal with demolition,” said Sgt. Calvin Seeley, 22, a sapper instructor from Wyandotte, Mich. “Whenever they go outside the wire the situation may arise where demo is needed and this way they will have the knowledge to use demo properly.”
For those Marines without an engineer background, the range was a useful learning experience.
“I deal with ammo everyday but I don’t usually get to use it or see it get used,” Gagnon explained. “It was a real eye opener seeing all the different ways you can use explosives.”