11/19/2013 -- CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - “Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole!” shouted the Marines as the charges detonated from afar. The sound of the blast resonated within the bunker followed by a deafening silence. After the range was clear, the Marines exited the bunker and trudged up the demolitions range with more explosives in hand.
Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 15 and Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, conducted a basic demolitions course aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Nov. 13-15, 2013.
“The Marines utilized expedient demolitions ranging from shaped charges, Bangalore torpedoes, claymore mines, TNT and dynamite,” said Staff Sgt. Karen Wilk, a combat engineer with CLR-17 and staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the training exercise.
Before the three-day, live-fire stage of the course, the Marines received intensive classroom instruction on calculating net explosive weights and fuse timers, safety procedures and the application of conventional and field-expedient demolitions.
The course was designed to teach Marines without demolitions training how to use explosives in a combat environment.
“The training is especially important for Marines who are not combat engineers because it allows them to learn about the dangers and safety protocols involved and appreciate what combat engineers go through on a daily basis,” said Wilk, a native of Kent City, Mich.
Safety was the top priority throughout the exercise. Leaders from 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st MLG, ensured the 44 students conducted all procedures correctly.
“The reason why we were so successful was due to the noncommissioned officers that we have out here and [the two instructors] from 7th ESB,” said 1st Lt. Karl A. Novick, an engineer officer with Headquarters Company, CLR-17, and officer-in-charge of the exercise, adding, “[They both] have a lot of experience with demolitions and take an active role in the planning and economizing of the training process.”
The exercise also showed the Marines the different uses of demolitions and their effects on targets.
“Personally, I liked the variety of charges we employed that allowed the Marines to see different techniques being used and how the targets were affected,” said 2nd Lt. Jorge Secada-Lovio, range safety officer with CLB-15.
In addition to demolitions training, the Marines also received instruction from subject matter experts on combat patrolling, radio operations and combat lifesaving techniques.
The exercise provided students with a background in not only demolitions training, but also other skills they can use in a combat environment, helping them become well-rounded warfighters.
“There are approximately 1,600 deployable Marines in the regiment,” said Novick, a native of Andover, Mass. “We trained about 50, and that’s a really small percentage. I hope to train more Marines in the regiment and help them further understand the nature of demolitions.”