Explosives course raises awareness, tactics for potential terrorist activities

14 Aug 2013 | Cpl. Charlie Clark

To help avoid future terrorist threats, the Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings course, conducted quarterly aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, has a curriculum which covers in detail bomb-making components, high explosive effects and how to recognize and detect improvised explosive devices.
The course, which is certified by the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Department of Homeland Security, is an advanced, four-hour long class that increases threat awareness.
As part of the curriculum, students learn the basics of low explosives and high explosives.
“We talk about the explosives because these energetic materials and chemicals are used in the most highly proficient terrorist activities globally,” said Jeffrey Strohman, the mission assurance training program manager and course instructor. “You can see the importance with deploying and garrison Marines as well as the first responders, who can roll up on any scene or situation, to know this information for their safety and the safety of innocent bystanders.”
The materials discussed during the class are used in more than 70 percent of all terrorist attacks.
Strohman uses videos, slides and passes around inert training aides during the course simulating bomb components of IEDs, which gives students hands-on training about what to look for.
“We talk in detail about the effects, components of high explosives,” said Strohman. “The students earn a very keen respect for high explosives, how to not handle them, and the distances to safely be from various levels of high explosives. I have to stress only explosive ordnance disposal experts should handle explosive materials if any are found.”
High explosives can detonate anywhere from 3,300 to 28,000 feet per second.
“That is very fast and very powerful,” Strohman said. “Often times, the bombs will have fragmentation components added to them to increase the devastation done during a terrorist attack.”
The course also covers common uses to carry or hide IEDs, such as backpacks, vehicles and suicide bombers.
Globally, suicide bombings are up 25 percent. The tactics and techniques terrorists use are being modified to what is most effective. That is why Strohman includes the subject material in the terrorist bombings course and instructs an entire course dedicated to suicide bomber techniques.
The students of the course appreciate the curriculum.
“I enjoyed the class because it gave a lot of useful information in a straightforward and interesting way,” said Staff Sgt. Francisco M. Martinez, an Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings course student. “It’s a great class for anyone who needs the certification or wants more information about the level one training we all take.”
For more information about the Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings course or other training classes, call Jeffrey Strohman at 451-9353, or email him at
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