MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Improvised Explosive Devices are perhaps the greatest threat a deployed service member can face, and it is an ever0evoling threat that the military must adapt with. Now, the Home Station Training Lanes, a unique training experience that was only available in Twenty-Nine Palms and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., is also offered here.
MCB Camp Lejeune is home to the Home Station Training Lanes and the Counter Improvised Explosive Device training facility, facilities recently built to familiarize Marines with what they will encounter when they deploy.
The II Marine Expeditionary Force C-IED Training Day for the HSTL and C-IED, which occurred May 5, had Marines from various deployable units come together to get an overview of what the new multi-million dollar facility had to offer to their Marines.
"The counter IED fight is an ever-evolving one that we have to stay current and relevant on," said Capt. Douglas Orr, branch head of Explosive Obstacles and Hazards, Marine Air Ground Task Force Engineer Division. "If we don't, we are setting Marines up for failure and failure means losing limbs and lives. This is something we can't afford to fall behind on."
The new site will give commanders the opportunity to have their personnel trained and mission ready prior to a deployment. More than eight courses are offered which include, Individual Preparedness in an IED Environment, Metal Detector Operators Course, Robot Operator Training, Home-made Explosives Awareness, Counter Radio Controlled IED Electronic Warfare systems training and Route Clearance Operations in an Explosive Hazards Environment.
Each class offers specific training on the subject at hand. Marines are taught to visually identify IEDs and how to efficiently react to a threat, how to operate metal detectors and robots like the PackBot 510 properly, and how to identify chemicals and materials used in making home-made explosives.
With so many classes available to commanders, Orr said that by the end of the year the Marine Corps Engineer Center's mobile training cadre will have trained approximately 60,000 Marines across the country and the world with one-third being trained at II MEF.
The facility has three indoor classrooms, two mock villages complete with sheep overturned vehicles and cemetery and two outdoor classrooms. Additionally it is equipped to have IED and rocket-propelled grenade simulators and also 3.5 kilometers of varied roadways overpasses, round-abouts, intersections and culverts.
To stay up-to-date with what deployed service members are encountering, the staff has personnel talking to units while they are deployed in addition to conducting an after action upon their return. Staff can take the techniques and procedures for new IEDs and teach Marines about it within 72 hours.
Training for any of the courses that the C-IED offers can range anywhere from four hours up to 40 hours. However, no matter the amount of time, be it a day or a few weeks, when the Marines leave the course they will be leaving with the knowledge that may one day save theirs or their fellow Marine’s lives.
“Having this here is going to be great for our Marines, since we didn’t get this when we deployed,” said Capt. Brandon Turner, commanding officer for Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. “This is all viable for a deployment, they have the newest information and technologies and are able to evolve to meet the needs of the Marine Corps.”