Photo Information

A combat engineer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point works on the frame of a hut for the reconstruction of a simulated forward operating base. The simulated forward operation base will be used to train Marines during stage two of School of Infantry-East’s Marine Combat Training.

Photo by Pfc. Nik Phongsisattanak

Combat engineers build Forward Operating Base for Camp Devil Dog

28 Sep 2011 | Pfc. Jackeline Perez Rivera

Marines who normally spend their time with demolition and clearing areas of roadside bombs are completing a task that explores a different side of their job.

Combat engineers with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, have been assisting with some upgrades to Camp Devil Dog since early last month.

“It’s giving me hands-on experience,” said Pfc. Kenneth Reid Storvick, a combat engineer working on the project. “Going to the demo range and blowing stuff up is a lot of fun but with this (project) we have to work together. Everybody has to be on the same page or things aren’t going to go up the way you want it to.”

Camp Devil Dog is an area for School of Infantry-East’s Marine Combat Training - the second stage of initial training for non-infantry Marines. The training they receive is focused on knowledge necessary for combat.

The combat engineers have been building a small scale, self-contained forward operating base within Camp Devil Dog to train Marines.

Before the construction, the area was lined with green wooden huts, built in 1990 as billeting spaces for Marines to live in during MCT, according to base officials. Modifications were made in order to incorporate them into a training area. The huts have seriously degraded within the last 21 years and were no longer considered safe.

During the training exercise on the forward operating base Marines will learn to stand post, work at an entry control point, conduct basic safety patrols and run a basic command operations center, said base officials.

“The combat engineers are getting an opportunity to build something and see how it works,” said Staff Sgt. David A. Rios, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge. 

“Most of the time engineers only get to build structures like this when they are on a deployment, and constructing combat outposts only in hostile areas,” a base official added. “This project gives MWSS-271 an opportunity to practice their skills here in country in a safe environment.”

During deployments, they spend their time building, repairing and maintaining buildings, power supplies and roads. They are also responsible for employing explosives for construction and demolition projects, according to a combat engineer page on the Marine Corps website.

“Back at the shop we’re messing with the tools, but we’re not out here building a full squad hut to size,” Storvick said. “It shows another part of our military occupational specialty that most people don’t see.”

The area will hold three large and three small huts and a hygiene area. There will be an entry check point with civilian and vehicle search lanes incorporated for training purposes, and a larger, more realistic HESCO border fence, and guard towers.

The project is scheduled to be finished early next month.

 “It’s a good learning environment,” Storvick said. “(MCT students) will be able to use it and see what a (forward operating base) is like.”

This will be many Marines’ first experience with a FOB, where many of them will live and work in during eventual deployments. Through this experience, they will have a better idea of what conditions to expect and will be better prepared for the rigors of combat.