MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Marine engineers with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 conducted breach application training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s demolition range, July 31.
Marines honed their skills and gained valuable training experience in order to be ready to apply breaching techniques in a combat environment, said 1st Lt. Sam Houghtling, the combat engineer platoon commander with MWSS-271.
“Urban breaching allows the commander to gain instantaneous access into a fortified position,” said Houghtling. “Let’s say we take a squad and encounter an obstacle. We see what we can do using demolition and mechanical breaching tools, such as hammers, to overcome the obstacle. It’s a great way to employ quick and speedy violence of action.”
The Marines breached doors using various explosives such as oval charges and donut charges. Oval charges create a hole while donut charges blow off doorknobs.
“As combat engineers, we have different standards we train to,” said Houghtling. “This training provides us with the ability to gain experience in our job because, as engineers, we are required to handle and use demolitions. This just happens to be one of the more exciting aspects.”
The Marines prepared their charges using everyday objects such as tape and cardboard during the training. The Marines then used the field expedient charges to breach doors to simulate combat-like scenarios.
“I was both a breacher and a mechanical breacher,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Pereira, an engineer assistant with MWSS-271. “I was able to place the charges and breach the door because you have to make sure you get through that door no matter what.”
After emplacing the charges on the door, the Marines stacked behind a ballistic blanket to protect themselves from the blast, said Pereira.
“When you pull the pin, hear the blast and feel the blast pressure, it’s a crazy feeling,” said Pereira. “It’s just great to be able to work with these kinds of things.”