MCAS BEAUFORT S.C. --
A robotic arm drops a charge on an improvised explosive device.
Crouching in a safe zone, the robot’s operator wipes sweat from his forehead and focuses back on the controls. Backing the robot away from the IED, a Marine ignites the charge setting off an explosion. The team then utilizes the robot to make sure the scene is clear for further inspection.
The exercise was part of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal training event at the Center of National Response in West Virginia, Sept. 2-6.
The multi-day Explosive Ordnance Disposal field exercise is designed to reinforce and improve the skills they need to protect Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and surrounding counties, said Gunnery Sgt. Jason Chrjapin, the EOD staff noncommissioned officer in charge for Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. During the exercise, Marines practice disarming IED’s in several different scenarios, each created to sharpen a specific skill.
“We trained in a broad range of counter IED techniques,” saidChrjapin. “We trained to find the safest route to destroy an IED, different locations where IEDs can be placed and varying scenarios that we could face in the U.S.”
As with wartime operations, an EOD technician has to be prepared for stateside operations as well. In the U.S., EOD teams act as an emergency response unit to situations like destroying dud grenades on a military range or supporting local law enforcement officials as bomb squad units. Local agencies request assistance from EOD when they are available to respond to explosive ordnance incidents, when military munitions are found, or when the situation is outside of their capabilities.
“In the Air Station and local communities an IED can be placed anywhere from inside a building or vehicle to fields or main roads,” Chrjapin said. “On the Air Station our training is limited because there are no homes we can use to blow up an IED in. We usually have to remove the explosive from the building before blowing it up. At the Center of National Response we can remove the explosive inside or outside of a building or vehicle, allowing us to train in an environment that better relates to what we would see in the U.S.”
The exercise also helped the Marines better define their roles and missions in the event they have to remove an actual explosives threat.
“This exercise confirmed my confidence in the unit’s capabilities,” Chrjapin said. “I know that if there is a threat to take out we can remove it the safest way possible. We worked hard and built upon what we already knew to become that much more prepared for an explosives threat.”