EOD Marines train for unique threats
CENTRAL TRAINING AREA, OKINAWA, Japan -- Marines with 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit constructed, emplaced, and destroyed mock improvised explosive devices during disruptive-tools training Oct. 23 at the Demolitions 2 Range in the Central Training Area.
The training prepares EOD technicians for IEDs they could come across during operations outside of Afghanistan.
“The Marines we had at the range today have been technicians for about a year, and have only seen IEDs set up in Afghanistan,” said Staff Sgt. Dustin R. Cutsinger, an EOD technician and acting company gunnery sergeant with 3rd EOD Co, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “However, in other locations, we are tasked with (providing EOD support) on our bases and occasionally for outside entities as well.”
Prior to the range, Marines from each unit constructed simulated IEDs before letting Marines from the other unit determine how to disarm the device.
“It’s always something we like to do with newer Marines,” said Gunnery Sgt. Nathan L. Jones, an EOD technician and the operations chief with 3rd EOD Co. “One of the best techniques we can instill in the Marines is to ‘think like the bomb maker,’ and then see how other technicians would disarm them. This way we can try to stay ahead of (the enemy) and keep our guys safe.”
For the range, the Marines used capabilities designed to disable or destroy IEDs.
“These are just some of the tools we want the Marines to become proficient in,” said Jones. “These tools can be used in most situations after the EOD teams make the final determination on how to disarm the devices.”
The Marines disarmed 12 different types of simulated IEDs, ranging from paper envelopes, wine boxes and backpacks, to pipe bombs and ammunition cans.
“It was extremely important for us to do this range,” said Sgt. Christopher M. Awes, an EOD technician with the company. “There are just so many different types of IEDs out there that it would be impossible to try to remember every single detail about how to disarm them.
“It really is up to the imagination of whoever made them. Going over the generic ones at least allows us to remember what we did to disarm (similar devices),” added Awes. “It’s kind of like a marksmanship log book; it lets us go back and see what we did previously.”
After the Marines disarmed the devices, they removed anything they could reuse for future operations and exercises.
“It was great being able to come out here and train on tools we learned about at our (military occupation specialty school),” said Awes. “By training now, we will be better prepared should anything happen in the future.”