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III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office

Okinawa Marines in the Asia-Pacific region

Okinawa, Japan
Engineers blast back to basics

By Cpl. Jose D. Lujano | III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office | April 23, 2014

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Marines initiate the time fuse connected to an omnidirectional charge surrounded by targets April 16 at Camp Schwab during a four-day basic demolition course. The omni charge, also known as a “Frankenstein pie,” sends shrapnel flying in all directions within its blast radius. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Marines initiate the time fuse connected to an omnidirectional charge surrounded by targets April 16 at Camp Schwab during a four-day basic demolition course. The omni charge, also known as a “Frankenstein pie,” sends shrapnel flying in all directions within its blast radius. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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Lance Cpl. Nickolaus D. Lopez examines a crater made by the explosion of a 40-pound ammonium nitrate crater charge April 15 at Camp Schwab during a four-day basic demolition course. The enormous power generated by the explosive did not allow for a safe viewing of the detonation by the Marines. Lopez is a combat engineer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Lance Cpl. Nickolaus D. Lopez examines a crater made by the explosion of a 40-pound ammonium nitrate crater charge April 15 at Camp Schwab during a four-day basic demolition course. The enormous power generated by the explosive did not allow for a safe viewing of the detonation by the Marines. Lopez is a combat engineer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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An omnidirectional charge is placed in the center of numerous targets April 16 at Camp Schwab during a four-day basic demolition course. The omni charge, also known as a “Frankenstein pie,” sends shrapnel flying in all directions within its blast radius. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force.

An omnidirectional charge is placed in the center of numerous targets April 16 at Camp Schwab during a four-day basic demolition course. The omni charge, also known as a “Frankenstein pie,” sends shrapnel flying in all directions within its blast radius. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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Expedient charges to include bangalore torpedoes, shape charges and omnidirectional charges are staged April 16 at Camp Schwab during a four-day basic demolition course. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Expedient charges to include bangalore torpedoes, shape charges and omnidirectional charges are staged April 16 at Camp Schwab during a four-day basic demolition course. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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A Marine observes an explosion from a safe distance April 15 during a four-day basic demolition training course at Camp Schwab. With the safety of Marines paramount, properly knowing how to handle and detonate explosives can be the difference between life and death during training and real-world operations, according to Sgt. Shawn D. Olewiler, a combat engineer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III MEF.

A Marine observes an explosion from a safe distance April 15 during a four-day basic demolition training course at Camp Schwab. With the safety of Marines paramount, properly knowing how to handle and detonate explosives can be the difference between life and death during training and real-world operations, according to Sgt. Shawn D. Olewiler, a combat engineer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III MEF. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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A ring of TNT explodes April 15 during a four-day basic demolition training course at Camp Schwab. The controlled explosion allowed Marines to observe how effectively the blast demolished obstacles. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force.

A ring of TNT explodes April 15 during a four-day basic demolition training course at Camp Schwab. The controlled explosion allowed Marines to observe how effectively the blast demolished obstacles. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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A ring of TNT explodes April 15 during a four-day basic demolition training course at Camp Schwab. The controlled explosion allowed Marines to observe how effectively the blast demolished obstacles. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force.

A ring of TNT explodes April 15 during a four-day basic demolition training course at Camp Schwab. The controlled explosion allowed Marines to observe how effectively the blast demolished obstacles. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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Lance Cpl. James E. Brown, left, ties detonation cord while Cpl. Andrew D. Hoisington supervises April 15 during a four-day basic demolition course at Camp Schwab. The Marines placed blocks of TNT in an interconnected ring of detonation cord, helping to create what is known as a “TNT ring main.” Brown is a combat engineer currently serving as a civil affairs noncommissioned officer with the civil affairs detachment, G-3, operations, III Marine Expeditionary Force. Hoisington is a combat engineer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF.

Lance Cpl. James E. Brown, left, ties detonation cord while Cpl. Andrew D. Hoisington supervises April 15 during a four-day basic demolition course at Camp Schwab. The Marines placed blocks of TNT in an interconnected ring of detonation cord, helping to create what is known as a “TNT ring main.” Brown is a combat engineer currently serving as a civil affairs noncommissioned officer with the civil affairs detachment, G-3, operations, III Marine Expeditionary Force. Hoisington is a combat engineer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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TNT explodes April 15 during a training event as part of a four-day basic demolition course at Camp Schwab. The controlled explosion allowed Marines to watch how effectively the charge demolished obstacles. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force.

TNT explodes April 15 during a training event as part of a four-day basic demolition course at Camp Schwab. The controlled explosion allowed Marines to watch how effectively the charge demolished obstacles. The Marines participating in the training are with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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A Marine ensures detonation cord is tied properly to a block of TNT April 15 during a four-day basic demolition course at Camp Schwab. With the safety of Marines paramount, properly knowing how to handle and detonate explosives can be the difference between life and death during training and real-world operations, according to Sgt. Shawn D. Olewiler, a combat engineer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

A Marine ensures detonation cord is tied properly to a block of TNT April 15 during a four-day basic demolition course at Camp Schwab. With the safety of Marines paramount, properly knowing how to handle and detonate explosives can be the difference between life and death during training and real-world operations, according to Sgt. Shawn D. Olewiler, a combat engineer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. (Photo by Cpl. Jose D. Lujano)


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CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan -- The command “pop smoke!” initiates a precise time fuse, followed minutes later by explosions shaking the ground and booming echoes reverberating throughout the training area.

Marine combat engineers with various units assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force honed their capabilities to employ explosives during a four-day basic demolition course April 13-16 at Camp Schwab.

“The Marines focused on the basics of demolition, including using detonation cord, C-4, TNT, electric and nonelectric detonation methods and practiced demolition charge preparation,” said 2nd Lt. John O. Mutton, a combat engineer officer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF.

The training began in a classroom setting to review safety procedures, and then transitioned to a live-fire practical application portion.

With the safety of Marines paramount, knowing how to properly handle and detonate explosives can be the difference between life and death during training and real-world operations, according to Sgt. Shawn D. Olewiler, a combat engineer with the squadron.

“Every tool of the trade has a different effect,” said Olewiler. “Knowing the right tool to use for the right job is the key to being proficient at our craft.” During the practical application portion of the training, several obstacles were emplaced in the training area. Marines then analyzed and determined how to effectively reduce the obstructions using the basic demolition capabilities they learned.

After determining the best course of action, the students calculated how long each detonating fuse would burn before triggering the detonation, according to Olewiler. Once the fuse initiated, the Marines would move to a safer area and wait the predetermined time before each detonation.

Regardless of whether the obstacle was made of logs, barbed wire or steel beams, the Marines effectively reduced them using the techniques and tools taught during the course, according to Olewiler.

To properly destroy the variety of obstacles, the Marines assembled several explosives, including basic C-4 charges, TNT, cratering charges, bangalore torpedoes and several expedient charges.“Being able to see a cloud of dust rise after a ball of fire gets my heart beating faster, especially because I am not practicing my primary military occupational specialty due to my present (billet),” said Lance Cpl. James E. Brown, a combat engineer currently serving as a civil affairs noncommissioned officer with the civil affairs detachment, G-3, operations, III MEF.

As the Marines spent more time working with the explosives and examining the ordnances’ effectiveness, they became more confident in their skills, according to Brown.

“At first, some of us were more tense working with the explosives,” said Brown. “As we (continued the training), I loosened up but stayed very much at the alert. At the end of the day, (if) my skills are needed as a combat engineer, I will be confident to help the mission succeed.”

Throughout the training, the noncommissioned officers took the lead in educating and training the Marines, ensuring the course was safe and successful, according to Mutton.
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Image1st Marine Aircraft Wing ImageC-4 ImageCamp Schwab ImageCivil Affairs Detachment Imagecivil affairs noncommissioned officer ImageCombat Engineer Platoon ImageCommandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos ImageG-3 ImageIII Marine Expeditionary Force ImageIII Marine Expeditionary Force ImageIII Marine Expeditionary Force Command Element ImageIII MEF ImageJames E. Brown ImageJapan ImageJohn O. Mutton ImageMarine Aircraft Group 36 ImageMarine Corps ImageMarine Corps Installations Pacific ImageMarine Wing Support Squadron 172 ImageMarines ImageMCIPAC Imagemilitary ImageOkinawa Marine Imageservice members ImageShawn D. Olewiler ImageTNT

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