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Private First Class Thomas Jenkins, a rifleman with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, sweeps for improvised explosive devices March 14, 2011 at the Combat Center’s Range 800. “The Darkside,” as the unit is known, is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan later this year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Photo by Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Marines train to counter IED threats

18 Mar 2011 | Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Improvised explosive devices are some of the perils Marines face while deployed to combat zones.

Facilities like the Combat Center’s Range 800 train Marines in the essentials of counter-IED warfare.

“The lifecycle of [Tactics, Techniques and Procedures] is very short,” said Capt. Douglas Orr, the branch head for Explosive Obstacles and Hazards Branch, Marine Corps Engineer Center, located at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. “We don’t teach them specific TTPs, because they’re always changing, and that would provide a false sense of security and maybe even set Marines up for failure.

“Here, we teach them the fundamentals,” said the Ridgefield, Conn., native. “We teach them the basics, and look into what region the unit is slated to deploy to and examine what is specifically happening there.”

This week, the personnel of the range, from the Marine Corps Engineering Center, in conjunction with support from the installation’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, as well as 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, trained approximately 700 Marines to counter the IED threat, said Mike Fay, the site lead instructor at the range, who is from San Francisco.

Fay said Marines training at the range this past week were not only given the expected, high level of training, but were also exposed to some of the newest technology for the first time.

The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization came here to show Marines one of the Corps’ newest pieces of gear, the Counter Bomber, a device equipped to detect person-borne explosives on targets up to 100 yards away and farther, Fay added.

Lance Cpl. James Farrar, an assaultman with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, said knowledge is power when dealing with an intelligent enemy.

“You can tell the training here is constantly kept up-to-date, and meant to stay proactive,” said the Boston native.

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