Engineers execute explosives training during FFII
TINIAN, Northern Mariana Islands - Combat engineers transformed Charlie runway into a demolition range Nov. 29 at Tinian’s North Field to expand the runway capabilities.
The purpose of the demolition was to clear runway Charlie and cross train with Marines from other sections in explosives use.
Forager Fury II is a joint exercise designed to employ and assess combat power generation in a deployed and austere environment. The Marines are with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“Today, we’re doing a demo shoot, to mostly remove trees that (heavy equipment) had trouble removing,” said 1st Lt. Taylor Keithley, a platoon commander of MWSS-171. “Marines are receiving training with expedite charges, shape charges, and other chargers. This is something we don’t get to do very often in the MWSS.”
Operations in Tinian allow Marines to get hands-on demonstrations and build their efficiency handling explosives, according to Keithley.
“This training prepares for real world operations in the event that we have to set up a landing field on an island and fight pretty much anywhere,” said Keithley. “Here we’re prepared to clear a runway so MAG-12 can land (fixed-wing aircraft).”
This training provides Marines cross training in other military occupational specialties participating in FF II, according Sgt. David Noe, a foreman with MWSS-171.
“There’s always going to be various MOSs where ever you go so learning different ones and adapting to your situation important,” said Noe.
The Marines used C4 and TNT during the demo, and stressed the importance of safety while detonating charges, according to Noe.
“Safety is the most important thing,” said Lance Cpl. Tristan Armstrong. “Everyone is a safety officer and everyone needs to understand the consequences of their actions in the demo. If they don’t, then they can’t participant in the demo, because it takes just a single mistake to be catastrophic, even mishandling the smallest piece of demo.”
While maintaining safety and gaining experience were paramount to the training, it was the ability to work with other sections that truly made the range a success, according to Keithley.
“We actually get to work in tangent with our (heavy equipment) and (motor transportation) brothers and we get to come together as a team,” said Keithley. “Today, we really got to see how the MWSS fights as a whole.”