CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa (June 20, 2008) — The Dynamic Entry Course exploded into action June 2-13 as 16 service members employed precision building-entry techniques using explosives at Range 16 on Camp Hansen.
The course, taught by the III Marine Expeditionary Force Special Operations Training Group, is designed to help prepare students for urban combat situations they may encounter in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Dynamic entry techniques can be employed to blow a human sized hole in a solid concrete wall allowing the entry team to rush in, with the element of surprise, and clear a building.
Through the course curriculum, students were taught to "ballistically, mechanically and explosively gain entry into a (facility)," said Staff Sgt. Jesse P. Kekiwi, the chief dynamic-entry instructor.
The students started by learning the basic concepts of building explosive charges and continued through more complicated charges for different situations.
"As they get more knowledgeable, the charges get less standard and more unorthodox," Kekiwi said.
Some students in the course went from having little or no experience with explosives to building precision charges capable of blasting through a structure.
"The most challenging part for me has been going from having no demolitions experience to learning the charges, making the calculations and using the proper weight of explosives," said Cpl. Jason Welsh, a reconnaissance man with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division.
He said that before detonating their charges, students were required to calculate the total amount of explosives used in a charge, and that the total weight of explosives determined how close they could be to the charge during detonation.
If the explosives are unable to penetrate the entry point as planned, other methods are available to the entry team.
Students learned how to effectively use a sledgehammer to bust through walls not destroyed by the blast. A saw can also be used to cut through rebar, and a pry bar, also known as the "hooligan" tool, can be used to open doors or windows. Shotguns with breaching rounds are another viable option for opening doors.
Creating an entrance is only the first step in a dynamic entry. Once in the facility, the entry team must apply close quarters battle techniques to move in and clear the building, Welsh said.
The Dynamic Entry Course is typically a precursor to the Dynamic Assault Course which teaches students how to effectively apply close quarters battle maneuvers once an entrance has been made.