III MEF News Search

EOD Marines reconstruct blast sites

11 Jul 2013 | Lance Cpl. Anne Henry

CAMP SCHWAB, Okinawa - The ground shakes from the blast of a simulated improvised explosive device detonating in the distance. The shout of “seven seconds” is cried out and another blast shakes the terrain.

These sounds rang out as Marines with 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company trained to enhance their knowledge of post-blast analysis and site survey techniques June 26 at Range 10 on Camp Schwab.

Subject-matter experts led the training for the Marines of 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

With IEDs commonplace in current warfare, it is critical that the Marines learn the skills necessary to mitigate their effect, according to Staff Sgt. Clayton J. Rue, a team leader with 3rd EOD Co.
“This course educates service members about post-blast analysis and site surveys after an IED detonation,” said Rue. “We will be taking explosives out, detonating them, and sending teams out to identify what happened.”

To achieve the most realistic setting, instructors used a variety of explosives and did not inform the Marines as to which explosive compound was detonated.

“When the teams get out there, they will analyze the fragmentation and components of the blast,” said Rue. “They will then be able to put the pieces back together to see what kind of explosive compound caused the blast.”

Multiple explosives were detonated in order to give the Marines a broader understanding of the many types of IEDs that an enemy could use, according to Staff Sgt. Joshua D. McKean, a team leader with 3rd EOD Co. This allowed the Marines to build a mental image of the effects on the surrounding environment.

“The Marines will be able to learn traits the explosives have by observing burn patterns on the ground and seeing how much dirt was displaced,” said McKean. “One of the biggest parts of our job is using explosives. The other portion of it is figuring out the type and cause of explosions.”

The Marines left the training confident that the skills they gained will help with accomplishing their mission and saving lives, according to Rue.

“From this training the Marines will be able to take away skills that can be applied to any environment,” said Rue. “This helps us do more than just identify explosives; it allows us to mitigate them in the future.”

Read more: