Story by LCpl Jacob Pruitt on 02/25/2017MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. It is the job of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Explosive Ordnance Disposal detachment to mitigate threats that are posed by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs while deployed to the Western Pacific area of operations.
With technology advancing almost exponentially, the EOD skillset is extremely perishable and frequent realistic training evolutions are extremely important. The bulk of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan were as a result of IEDs. To stay on top of their game, EOD Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 15 conducted IED training with a Percussion Actuated Neutralizer, aboard Camp Pendleton, Feb. 22, 2017.
"Our main mission is to preserve life and property and to eliminate explosive hazards for our friendly forces and civilian populace," said Staff Sgt. Ryan May, an EOD technician with CLB-15. "We are training on the basics of dealing with an IED; properly observing, identifying, and selecting the safest and most effective method of dealing with an explosive."
Once the techs donned their protective suits, they worked in teams to investigate objects suspected as IEDs and their internal components with the use of a portable X-ray. In the case an X-Ray indicates a situation where it would be unsafe to approach the IED, the techs use a Percussion Actuated Neutralizer, which can use a diverse selection of projectiles to take a precision or general disruption shot at the target from afar to eliminate the threat to the Marines.
"This type of training is effective because we get a lot of useful information about what we should do in different situations, and it allows for constructive criticism from other techs who may do things differently," said May. "We are all experienced EOD technicians, but sometimes we don't take time to share our experiences and knowledge. This type of training allows us to learn from each other and improve our own abilities, which in turn enables the MEU to be much faster and more flexible with these types of obstacles while minimizing the potential for injuries or deaths of the troops we are here for."
The 15th MEU could not be the expeditionary force in readiness our nation requires without the self-sufficiency CLB-15 provides. The capabilities offered are essential to the MEU's ability to rapidly deploy and remain flexible on the battlefield.