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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Members of the Society of American Military Engineers get a class on how the PackBot, a robot designed to cross rough terrain and with its cameras and claws identify explosive hazards, during a visit to the Marine Corps Engineer School, at Courthouse Bay, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, April 14. Throughout the day they got a tour of what engineers in the Marine Corps do on a daily basis.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

Civilian engineers see military side

15 Apr 2011 | Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

One makes buildings meant to last for decades; the other constructs makeshift temporary havens while purifying water and providing electricity to a deployed unit. However, at the end of the day when they kick off their combat boots or dress shoes, they are known as engineers.

Members of the Society of American Military Engineers from a variety of different construction and engineering companies as well as retired service members, many of whom were engineers, visited the Marine Corps Engineer School, at Courthouse Bay, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, April 14.

SAME is a national military engineering association that was created to unite architecture, engineering construction, facility management and environmental entities and to also advance the field of military engineering.

The Coastal Carolina Post, which meets every month and is comprised of project managers, Department of Defense civilians and private-sector experts, recently decided to hold their next post meeting at the schoolhouse.

The gathering, which started at 11 a.m., kicked off with a luncheon and raffle. Afterward, they were given an overview of what the engineers learn at the schoolhouse as well as what they are capable of once they hit the fleet.

“We focus on simple, better, lighter, all of which makes us more mobile and readily available for any situation,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Miller, commanding officer for the Engineer Training Battalion, MCES. “The Marine Corps can also produce more fresh water than anywhere else in the world with the equipment we have on hand.”

Once the brief was completed, the post members were loaded up onto buses and taken to Camp Sweat aboard the base. Camp Sweat is where most of the engineer’s training occurs, here the Marines learn how to maintain a generator, process water and make it drinkable among many other vital tasks that are often assigned to their specific military occupational specialty.

Even though most of the civilian engineer community would not need to worry about how to properly purify water or construct makeshift restrooms, they all took a keen interest in how Marines operated the equipment-all while staying mobile.

“It’s really neat to see how the Marines are able to support battalions and commands with the tools they have on hand,” said Greg Sallee, the secretary for SAME and a retired service member.

The tour then continued on to another training area where they got to see the tools engineers use to locate and destroy improvised explosive devices and road-side bombs.

The first thing to be introduced to the visitors was the PackBot, a robot designed to cross rough terrain and with its cameras and claws identify explosive hazards.

With the tour almost over, they were finally introduced to the behemoths what were used to locate and dispose of bombs while on patrol; the Husky and the Buffalo.

The Husky is a mine-detection vehicle and the Buffalo is a mine-protected vehicle with a robotic arm that has a claw and spike attached, used to search for threats. Both vehicles allow service members to find and remove threats while staying at the safest distance possible.

To wrap it all up, the club members were given a chance to look at what types of IEDs deployed service members were encountering and how the opposition’s IEDs were becoming deadlier while using less metal.

As the day’s events came to an end, SAME members talked about what was their favorite engineering equipment or what they found most interesting.

“Today’s events were terrific, SAME exists for all services and civilians, being an engineer association it made sense to come out and spend some time with the Marine Corps and see how their engineers worked,” said Cmdr. Ron Kramps, the public works officer with Public Works Division, Installations and Environment, MCB Camp Lejeune and president of SAME’s Coastal Carolina Post. “We wouldn’t have been able to be here and see all of this if it wasn’t for Col. Ramey and his staff that took the effort to coordinate all of this so we’d like to thank them as well.”