Marines take a stroll down ‘IED lane’
By Lance Cpl. Kirstin Merrimarahajara
| 2nd Marine Logistics Group | August 25, 2014
HOLLY RIDGE, N.C. --
More than 40 Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, took a stroll down an improvised explosive device training lane during a two-day, counter-IED course in Holly Ridge, N.C., Aug. 19-20, 2014.
The first part of the course took place in a classroom where counter-IED instructors taught motor-transport and landing support Marines about the different types of IEDs commonly used and how to react when there may be a threat. The instructors put the Marines to the test during a day and a half of practical application in IED detection and response.
It was no walk in the park when members of CLB-2 patrolled a path on foot, while looking for disturbed dirt, fishing wire, or shiny objects. Those indicators are signs of a simulated IED placed in the dense North Carolina forest by the counter-IED instructors. The Marines also searched for fake IEDs in a mock Middle-Eastern town, from a distance, through rifle combat optics and binoculars.
The students later applied their new skills during a simulated convoy. Clouds of charcoal-colored dust filled the streets as mock IEDs detonated, and the echo of blank machine gun fire added to the realistic environment as the Marines were tested during a vehicle patrol. The Marines would dismount the vehicles periodically and conduct visual scans for IEDs around the Humvees.
“I wouldn’t have known how to spot an IED before the course,” said Lance Cpl. Nicholas Shaw, Transport Support Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “I thought the course was very helpful, especially if we ever find ourselves in an environment with IEDs.”
The class was taught by instructors who had experience with IEDs from tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Retired Master Sgt. David Slay and retired Staff Sgt. Travis Hiller both served as Marine Corps infantrymen and gained significant combat experience before coming instructors.
“Master Sgt. Slay and Staff Sgt. Hiller were awesome. They were an invaluable resource with a combined 47 years of combat experience going back to Desert Shield,” said First Lt. Jonathan Pica, executive officer of Transportation Support Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 2 and a Kingston, Massachusetts native.
The instructors challenged the Marines to find as many simulated IEDs as possible during the practical application portion of the course.
While the IEDs and casualties were fake, the realistic scenarios helped the Marines and sailors experience the physical and mental strains of dealing with an IED threat. The training ensured the Marines are ready to employ counter-IED skills at any time.
“It’s absolutely possible that we could get a phone call tonight and have to be on a plane,” said Pica. “We have to be sharp enough … to switch gears at the drop of a hat.”