CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. —
Accompanied by the sounds of boots stomping over mud and dirt, orders were screamed and received. An explosion as loud as thunder rang as a squad of Marines charged their objective.
Marine combat engineers with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and infantry assaultmen with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, blasted through barriers during an urban breaching range at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, March 20, 2018.
“Engineers and assaultmen share a lot of similar tasks and skills,” said Sgt. William Collins, chief instructor of Engineer Training Area 9 and 10, with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion. “This training gave the assaultmen and the combat engineers time to work together and get to know each other.”
As soon as the sun rose over the horizon, Marines began conducting tactical maneuvers and familiarizing the new combat engineer Marines with urban style demolitions.
“A lot of the Marines arrived here within the past few months and they picked up information fast and had a lot of speed and intensity, which is what it takes to do this sort of thing,” Collins said.
The Marines consolidated into three squads before constructing various explosive charges, with each charge having its respective purpose and explosive power for the range.
“For most of the Marines, this is their first time handling live demolitions,” said Cpl. Cabel Thomas, a squad leader with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion. “The biggest thing for them is getting hands-on experience and having a better understanding of how to do urban breaching.”
As the day carried on, Marines performed back-to-back breaches on multiple targets using various explosive charges and tactical maneuvers.
“One of the most important parts of this training is getting the chance to stand there, feel the blast and the pressure and being able to push through to the objective,” said Collins. “We make our training as realistic as possible and allow the Marines to move freely while using their own tactics and formations.”
2nd CEB conducts urban breaching ranges on a regular basis to sustain their proficiency and improve unit cohesion.
“We fight all over the world and we have to be able to adapt not only with the movement of the infantrymen but also within an urban environment,” said Thomas. “You never know what’s going to happen or what kind of situation you’ll be in.”