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II Marine Expeditionary Force

Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, NC
Bridge Company: training with a bang

By Cpl. Paul Peterson | | January 23, 2013

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A breaching team with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group destroys a door during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines used the exercise to broaden their knowledge of military demolitions and gain first-hand experience with breaching operations.

A breaching team with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group destroys a door during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines used the exercise to broaden their knowledge of military demolitions and gain first-hand experience with breaching operations. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Devin Nichols)


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A line of Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group fire M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotguns at a rage aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines used the shotguns to breach doors during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition exercise.

A line of Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group fire M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotguns at a rage aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines used the shotguns to breach doors during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition exercise. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Devin Nichols)


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A Marine with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group blasts a hole in a mock door during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines practiced firing the M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun to punch holes around door locks to gain entrance into building for assault teams.

A Marine with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group blasts a hole in a mock door during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines practiced firing the M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun to punch holes around door locks to gain entrance into building for assault teams. (Photo by Cpl. Paul Peterson)


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Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group charges through a doorway after demolishing the entrance with explosives during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines also used high explosives to clear common battlefield obstacles such as barbed wire.

Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group charges through a doorway after demolishing the entrance with explosives during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines also used high explosives to clear common battlefield obstacles such as barbed wire. (Photo by Cpl. Paul Peterson)


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A Marine with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group reloads the M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines fired slugs from the shotguns to blast through door locks in preparations for assault teams.

A Marine with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group reloads the M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines fired slugs from the shotguns to blast through door locks in preparations for assault teams. (Photo by Cpl. Paul Peterson)


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Lance Cpl. Brandon T. Rowland, a native of Warren, Ohio, and combat engineer with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, recoils after firing the M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun at a range aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. Rowland later used the shotgun to blast through door locks.

Lance Cpl. Brandon T. Rowland, a native of Warren, Ohio, and combat engineer with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, recoils after firing the M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun at a range aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. Rowland later used the shotgun to blast through door locks. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Devin Nichols)


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A Marine prepares to shoot around a lock during Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s urban breaching and demolition training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines fired slugs from the M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun and detonated high explosives to breach doors in preparation for assault teams.

A Marine prepares to shoot around a lock during Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s urban breaching and demolition training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The Marines fired slugs from the M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun and detonated high explosives to breach doors in preparation for assault teams. (Photo by Cpl. Paul Peterson)


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A breaching team with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group braces against the blast from an explosion used to blow down a door at a range aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The team used a thick blanket to shield them from debris before storming through the hole created by the explosion.

A breaching team with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group braces against the blast from an explosion used to blow down a door at a range aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The team used a thick blanket to shield them from debris before storming through the hole created by the explosion. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Devin Nichols)


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Debris from an explosion engulfs a breaching team with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. Teams of Marines huddled behind protective blankets before detonating explosives they placed on doors and walls at their training range.

Debris from an explosion engulfs a breaching team with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. Teams of Marines huddled behind protective blankets before detonating explosives they placed on doors and walls at their training range. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Devin Nichols)


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A crater left by an explosive detonated by Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group fills with water at a range aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The explosive ripped a hole through a line of barbed wire during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition training, which also prepared the Marines to use explosives to blow down doors and create holes in walls for urban assault teams.

A crater left by an explosive detonated by Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group fills with water at a range aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. The explosive ripped a hole through a line of barbed wire during the unit’s urban breaching and demolition training, which also prepared the Marines to use explosives to blow down doors and create holes in walls for urban assault teams. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Devin Nichols)


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An explosive charge set by Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group detonates at a training range aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. Similar explosions erupted throughout the range as combat engineers with the company trained to breach obstacles they might encounter in the field.

An explosive charge set by Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group detonates at a training range aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 18, 2013. Similar explosions erupted throughout the range as combat engineers with the company trained to breach obstacles they might encounter in the field. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Devin Nichols)


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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The front door disintegrated into small, wooden shards and burning embers as the explosive charge ripped a hole in the building and showered the line of Marines with debris.

Six combat engineers with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group poured into the building as another team shattered a window at the rear of the building during the unit’s demolition and breaching exercise here, Jan. 18.

The detonations were the result of a week of training and preparation completed at Engineer Training Area 3, where approximately 50 of the company’s Marines prepared for the unique challenges of urban assault.

“It’s a little nerve wracking at first,” said Lance Cpl. Brandon T. Rowland, a combat engineer and native of Warren, Ohio, who participated in the training. “You’ll feel that wave, and it sends a shock through your whole body.”

The structure of modern, city environments poses special challenges to combat engineers. Urban breaching techniques allow the troops to pass through doorways, walls and blocked passageways, which can restrict their movements on the battlefield.

To defeat these challenges, the servicemembers learned how to form into a tightly packed squad. They placed specially designed charges on their training facility’s doors and walls, punching holes in the structure for their assault teams to enter.

“I’m gaining a lot of knowledge,” said Rowland. “I’ve never done urban breaching before. I’ve learned about making expedient charges, how to set up urban breaching charges, and where to put them.”

The training prepared the Marines to create their own demolition charges with materials they might find in the field.

They huddled behind protective shields only a few yards from the blasts. Clouds of fire and smoke lurched from the building as explosives tore through doors and shook dust from their uniforms.

“It teaches them how to safely and effectively utilize military demolitions,” said 2nd Lt. Cullen G. Tores, a platoon commander with the company. “A lot of Marines don’t get this until they get to [more advanced training courses]. For the younger Marines, this is something that puts them ahead of the game with their peers.”

The Marines planted chains of demolitions in holes dug into the fresh mud and slid long tubes of explosives called Bangalore torpedoes beneath lines of barbed wire. Tentacles of severed wire and twisted metal flew through the air as the troops took shelter in nearby bunkers.

The servicemembers also learned how to use the M-1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun to blast through door locks. The training lasted nearly four hours and scarred the ground with wide craters that turned into pools of water in the field.

“With engineering being such a broad field, it lets them expand upon what they typically do,” said Tores, a native of Dallas. “They can be functional across a broad range of engineering. [All in all], it makes them more competent, knowledgeable Marines.


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