MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. —Warriors encounter many obstacles on the battlefield. Some they can maneuver over, under or around, others they must either go through or destroy.
Marines and Sailors with Marine Special Operations Advisor Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, conducted a demolition and logistics subject matter expert training course here, May 15, as part of MSOAG’s initial training pipeline.
The course is just one part of a constant push to add diverse skill sets and capability to the 11-14 man Marine Special Operations Teams that deploy in support of the Global War on Terrorism and SOF missions worldwide. The demolition and logistics track is one of five key specialties covered in a series of subject matter expert tracks built into the pipeline. Members of each MSOT also complete medical, communications, intelligence and weapons training courses. Consolidation of all these skills into one team, ensures the MARSOF Marines and sailors are prepared to overcome a wide range of challenges when they deploy.
During the demolition and logistics SME training course, advisors are put to the test through creative hands-on use of numerous types of explosives in a variety of situations.
“These are dangerous materials and it is important that they know what the explosives are capable of,” said Gunnery Sgt. Barry Elrod, primary instructor for the demolition and logistics track, Standards and Training, MSOAG. “We stress safety from the word ‘go’.”
According to Elrod, the demolition and logistics track is conducted over a period of five weeks at different locations throughout Camp Lejeune and Fort A.P. Hill, Va. Students receive extensive classroom instruction on explosive and electronic theory. At the end of the track, students undertake a final exercise that encompasses what they have learned over the previous five weeks.
“Our goal is to get the students familiar and comfortable dealing with demolition materials in a practical environment,” said Elrod. “They need to be able to handle them and know how much of what kind of explosive should be used for specific tasks.”
According to Elrod, the best way for the students to understand the different uses and power of the explosives is to get them on the range and set up obstacles with a good mix of physical properties. Hardened steel, concrete, doors, windows, rooftops, railroad track and timber were all used to show how effective certain explosives are in each situation. Through trial and error, the students began to understand the finer points of which explosives would be necessary for each task, how they should be applied, and how much should be used.
“We are out here giving these teams a capability they didn’t have before,” said Elrod. “It’s really exciting to see these teams grow and come together over the weeks and months.”