MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines conducted a demolition exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, June 2.
The unit conducted the training exercise to detonate unused explosives from the 2017 MCAS Beaufort Air Show to provide realistic experience for the Marines who will participate in future air shows.
“We used liquid binary explosives, TEXPAK, typically used by civilians for the air show,” said Gunnery Sgt. Vance Bercot, an EOD technician with EOD, MCAS Beaufort. “The reason we needed to use them now is because they have an expiration date. It also provided good training for some of our new Marines, the ones who are going to be here for the next air show.”
The Marines used two different explosives. The first part of the exercise involved the TEXPAK. The Marines mixed the two components of the explosive and taped the bottles together.
“One of the reasons we used the TEXPAK is because it is more cost effective,” said Master Sgt. Brian Diaz the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of EOD, MCAS Beaufort. “The military grade explosives we usually are more expensive. The other reason for using these civilian explosives is because this is a pyrotechnic display for the public.”
The second type of explosive they used was four gallon bags of fuel laid along a detonation cord to create the wall of fire used in the Marine Air-Ground Task Force demonstration during the air show.
Several of the Marines participating in the exercise were either just out of the EOD school or on on-the-job training and were not a part of the 2017 air show. The exercise familiarized them with one of the roles EOD fills for the air station.
“As a unit we work with everything from bullets to bombs,” said Diaz. “That also includes pyrotechnic displays for the public, combined with the rest of the air show, to foster community relations.”
According to Diaz, every aspect about their involvement in the air show went according to plan. They were able to successfully create the crowd pleasing ‘wall of fire.’ The cost of all of the materials for the air show was about $6,000. The cost to have a civilian contractor would have been about $10,000.
“We were able to save the air station money and get in some good training working with different explosives,” said Diaz. “With this last show everything blew 100% at the exact time we anticipated. In the future for air shows we expect the same result.”
The commanding officer, executive officer and other key air show-planning personnel attended the exercise to observe the EOD Marines work.
“I think our EOD unit is an integral part of our air show and to the Marine Air- Ground Task Force demonstration,” said Col. Peter Buck, the commanding officer of MCAS Beaufort.
“They bring that realistic aspect of the MAGTF to our fans. Today we were able to clean up from this last air show and set the structure for the next air show. This is a significant mission for the EOD Marines and they are great at what they do."