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Engineers build confidence and charges during explosive training


Story by Spc. Lisa Vines

Engineers build confidence and charges during explosive training FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Companies from the North Carolina National Guard’s 105th Engineer Battalion conducted their annual hands-on explosive training at Fort Bragg, N.C., Feb. 7, 2015.

About 50 soldiers from three companies headed down to the range over the weekend to sharpen their skills in preparing and detonating bangalore, shaped, crater, and brazier charges.

Engineers from the three companies trained together to make the most out of their time and resources, as well as to build camaraderie.

“We’re all engineer units and we train as one,” said Sgt. 1st Class William Lunsceford of the 151st Mobility Augmentation Company, which is based out of Laurinburg, N.C.

Soldiers assembled confidence-building charges, which is essentially a large amount of C4, as well as bangalore, shaped, crater and brazier charges, according to Lunsceford.

While out on the range, the newer soldiers are able to fully realize the real world applications of these explosive charges, as well as have some fun.

In 2012, the 151st MAC deployed to Afghanistan and was primarily responsible for clearing routes used by U.S. and Afghan militaries.

“With a lot of engineers, especially now doing route clearance, they ride around for 12 to 15 hours looking for roadside bombs, and then you would use something to blow the roadside bomb up, like a block of C4,” said Lunsceford, explaining how some of what is learned is applied downrange.

“Getting to come out and do hands on prep with demo is an exciting thing. I look forward to this drill every year,” said Sgt. Alejandro Piocuda, a team leader in the 171st Engineer Sapper Company.

The engineers look forward to this training event because they have to engage in plenty of preparation with safety classes and presentations to ensure they are ready to participate in annual live-fire training.

“When we get to do demo it’s a fun thing because if it’s not doing demo or a range, we’re basically in the armory doing classes,” said Piocuda.

“Demo prep, demo classes, basic Army classes, engineer classes such as counter-mobility against the enemy and channeling the enemy,” said Piocuda of the engineer battalion’s typical off-range drill weekends.

Although the soldiers of the 105th Engineer Battalion recognize the seriousness of their occupation, they also yearn for more time to create and enjoy the big booms their jobs have them perform.

“For our job, demolition is so fun because you just come out and make big explosions,” said Lunsceford with enthusiasm.

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