FORT A.P. Hill, Va. -- The M-240Gs and Squad Automatic Weapons were chattering away from the hillside as group of Marines began providing them cover.
"Let's go," said a squad leader as rounds cracked through the trees. "We have to get this charge set, pop smoke and get out."
They moved quickly through the high brush and down into the creek bed toward their objective.
Marines from "B" Company, 2d Combat Engineer Battalion, 2d Marine Division, practiced 'demolition raids' here recently as part of their training package.
"This is a good chance for us to train Marines how to do demolition runs while using suppressive fire," said Capt. Scott A. Baldwin, Newberg, Oregon, native, and B Co. commander. "This is also a chance for them to employ the engineer side of their job while implementing other objectives."
The objective of this training mission is first, to patrol to one checkpoint and signal for suppressive fire to the other Marines on the hillside. Then, as they suppress the enemy objective, the demolition team moves to their target, a log bridge over a creek, and set a timed C-4 charge. The team has to have enough time to get back to their designated checkpoint, out of range of any shrapnel, and wait for the explosion. Then, under cover of smoke, they will quickly move out of the area to their original starting position.
A lot of things can be learned in the field about demolition raids.
"From doing this, I learned that teamwork is very important when you want to accomplish the mission," said Lance Cpl. Clyde D. Osborn, Gilmer, Texas, native, and combat engineer, B Co. "It takes more than just the demolitions team to blow up a bridge. Without the Marines providing the suppressive fire, we couldn't even get to the objective."
The training done here is not something that the engineers get to do very often.
"We can actually come out here and do a lot of things we're not allowed to on Camp Lejeune," said Baldwin. "We can actually take a whole company out and work on such things as demo runs and making abates, making a road block by knocking trees over in an 'X' pattern with demolitions, and things of that nature."
When conducting demolitions, it takes teamwork and well-trained small unit leaders to get the job done.
"It's always good to come out here and brush up your skills as a combat engineer," said Cpl. Jon C. Damien, Beuford, Ga., native, and combat engineer, B Co. "However, this training is good for the younger Marines. It gives them the chance to get out there and pull some shots."