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C4 demolishes barriers

7 Mar 2008 | Cpl. GP Ingersoll 1st Marine Division

Sixteen pounds of C4 plus 28 perfectly usable doors equaled a lot of fun for Marines from 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance here March 6.

 Explosive urban breaching is just another method used to enter an enemy stronghold, said Cpl. Joshua Sou, a Squad Automatic Weapon gunner, 1st LAR.

 U.S. Marines included a platoon of Republic of Korea Marines in the training. The ROKs caught on quickly, despite having never seen or used these methods of breaching, said 1st LAR Marines here.

 "They don't train like we do," said Sgt. Cole J. Ladwig, 21, North Lake, Wis., a vehicle commander with 1st LAR. "Now they know how we do things, and they can fall right in."

 Ladwig said the ROKs had a blast.

 ROK Marines couldn't agree more. Especially since a lot of their training is done in a classroom.

 "Since our division's main mission is to guard the borders, we don't do much (Mobile Operations in Urban Terrain) field training, we do a lot of instruction," said Sgt. Kang-Sik Lee, a team leader with ROK 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.

 "We know in theory how this is supposed to work, but we never had practical application."

 As far as breaching application, Marines used two types of charges, linear and liquid. Liquid charges can be used to blow the doorknob or hinges apart. A linear charge literally cuts the door in two.

 Playing with this much power, though, requires a lot of responsibility.

 Communication is key "so we can move together as team, because if one element's (messed) up, then the whole operation is blown," said Sou, 21, Portland, Ore.

 Blown is right, so safety was paramount as Marines from the U.S. and Korea worked together to accomplish the training. Communication seemed to become almost intuitive between the two groups.

 "I use a lot of hand and arm signals," said Lee. "Since we are not used to the English, by using hand signals we can know what the other is thinking."

 Marine leaders filled the first part of the day with many classes and rehearsals.

 Lee, from Daegu, ROK, said that the U.S. Marines performed so many rehearsals by the time the exercise went live, he had no trouble concentrating above the blasts.

 Besides maintaining a steady mind amid chaos, there was also another more practical benefit.

 "After I got adjusted with this (training), I could speak better English with the United States Marines," Lee said.

1st Marine Division