MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A squad of Marines stood stacked behind a blast blanket, as they braced for the wave of energy sure to follow a breaching charge.
Suddenly, the silence is shattered by a sergeant yelling to the Marines, “Begin slow count!”
As the countdown begins, they squeeze in closer to each other.
“3, 2, 1.”
Instantly, the door is split down the middle, the blast blanket drops and the Marines burst into action through the doorway to their objective.
This was the scene as Marines of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, conducted live-fire assault training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 26, 2016.
“One of the biggest things is the realistic training,” said 2nd Lt. James Brown, a weapons platoon commander for Co. A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. “A lot of the focus right now is going to be urban demolition, so everything from breaching doors to employing improvised claymores.”
The training prepares individual squads for engagement in potential combat situation.
“Train how you fight, everything you do, even if you’re doing it during training you move with speed and intensity,” said Lance Cpl. Seth Dunn, a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. “You never know what kind of situation you are going to be put in.”
There were three squads comprised of combat engineers, assaultmen and riflemen. They were given the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in building breaching charges, properly applying the charges, and integrating together to work fluently as a team.
“That’s what the big overall goal of today would be,” said Brown. “Setting them up for safety so they can integrate properly, work together as a team, and at the end of the day they can all come back alive and well and complete their mission.”
Combat engineers taught riflemen and assaultmen how to utilize detonation cord to build various breaching charges such as a linear charge, donut charge, water charge, and a uli-knot slider charge.
“They cross-trained us on how to setup the charges,” said Dunn. “We practiced dry runs, how to actually stack up on the door, how to detonate it, and what exactly goes into that.”
Brown said it is important that Marines understand they will each play a different role when there are enemies involved. He wants each of them to realize that each decision they make will have an effect, and they can never be too prepared for combat. Every portion of training Marines endure will ensure they can perform in a more effective manner in real-life scenarios.
Training on this demolition range was not only for combat engineers to teach the assaultmen and riflemen how to build charges. It was a chance for Marines with different specialties and skillsets to learn from each other and learn how to come together in stressful situations to accomplish the mission at hand.