MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
with Engineer Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, Ground Combat Element
Integrated Task Force, conducted an assault breaching exercise at Engineer
Training Area 2 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Dec. 3,
The platoon began their exercise by hiking more than 10 kilometers
to the training area, carrying demolitions equipment such as M1A2 Bangalore
torpedoes, the Anti-personnel Obstacle Breaching System and C4 satchel charges.
The next day, the platoon constructed obstacles at
various distances using concertina wire. After preparing the demolition
equipment, they were ready to go to work. Their objective: to assault and
reduce obstacles by means of controlled detonation.
“(This) training was based on
assault breaching, an engineer task that is very similar to what we will be
doing out in Twentynine Palms,” said 1st Lt. Stephanie Damren, platoon
commander, Engineer Platoon, H&S Company, GCEITF.
She referenced the coming Task Force
deployment to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms,
California, where Marines will be assessed on their ability to perform tasks
out of the individual Military Occupational Specialty Training and Readiness
“We wanted to focus on the basics of
what assault breaching is, which consists of building charges, setting up
security and proofing and marking the lane after we reduce the obstacle,”
Damren said. “The Marines were intense. They got out there and applied what
they knew and did great at it.”
The Marines worked in squads to
determine what demolitions were appropriate and effective for their obstacles,
utilizing M1A2 Bangalore torpedoes first before bringing out the expedient line
charges of C4 and detonation cord. Marines maintained a security perimeter
while teams of two set up the charges. After charges were confirmed by position
safety officers, the Marines retreated to a safe distance before detonating the
charges and with them, the obstacles.
GCEITF leaders, including Col.
Matthew G. St. Clair, commanding officer, GCEITF, and Sgt. Maj. Robin C.
Fortner, sergeant major, GCEITF, were present to observe the engineers’ training.
The Marines also employed the Anti-personnel Obstacle Breaching System, which
is an explosive line charge that utilizes a rocket and fragmentation grenades
to clear obstacles. The platoon concluded their exercise once all obstacles
Marines gained (proficiency) on how to successfully conduct an assault breach,”
said Sgt. Eric T. Johansen, squad leader, Engineer Platoon, GCEITF. “They did
extremely well from what I saw, and understand (assault breaching) a lot better
than they would in a classroom setting.”
October 2014 to July 2015, the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force will
conduct individual and collective skills training in designated combat arms
occupational specialties in order to facilitate the standards based assessment
of the physical performance of Marines in a simulated operating environment
performing specific ground combat arms tasks.