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Marines serving with Bravo Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, attach a detonation cord to a cratering charge at Range 108 here, June 19, 2013. The company conducted a demolition training range where Marines learned about the capabilities of various explosives such as dynamite, TNT, shape charges and C4. The charges are used by engineers to destroy heavily armored vehicles, defensive obstacles and bridges.

Photo by Sgt. Alfred V. Lopez

Combat engineers conduct demolition training

24 Jun 2013 | Cpl. Christopher J. Moore 1st Marine Division

Marines serving with Bravo Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, conducted demolitions training with several types of explosives at range 108 here, June 19.

The training was conducted to teach junior Marines how to effectively demolish heavily armored vehicles, defensive obstacles, bridges and how to handle the explosives safely.

The biggest benefit was the hands on training the Marines received, said Cpl. Heracio Borrego, a combat engineer serving with Bravo Company.
"We're dealing with explosives and material that civilians who work with demolitions don't even get their hands-on," said Borrego. "So, it's going to be a huge plus for us as Marines to have that knowledge to help us out in the future."

The Marines started the training with a 40-pound shape charge, said Borrego, a native of Romeo, Colo.

"That charge is used in war environments to blow up armored vehicles and buildings," he said. "It's placed in a nonmobile position and once it's detonated, it creates a lot of devastation."

Many of the explosives were unfamiliar to the junior Marines, said 1st. Lt Mitchell Leestma, a platoon commander serving with the company.

"We don't get to use these demolitions as much," said Leestma, a native of Eden Prairie, Minn. "Most of these guys haven't seen these types of charges since they were in the schoolhouse. It gave us a great opportunity to come out here in more of a learning environment instead of a tactical environment and employ those demolitions."

It allowed the Marines to see what these charges actually do, what their purpose is in the fleet, what their purpose is in combat and how to employ them effectively, Leestma said.

The engineers also used C4, trinitrotoluene, commonly known as TNT, and dynamite, Borrego said.

"Those are very common to us," said Borrego. "They can be used for whatever we need and they're also good breaching explosives. They can be used on doorways and creating nonmanufactured charges."

Even though it takes a lot of hard work, effort and planning, the Marines were rewarded with seeing the success of each explosive they employed.
"The best part of working as a division engineer is seeing that split second of the explosion and to this day, I'm not tired of seeing that," said Borrego. "We're engineers and we love what we do."
1st Marine Division