JULY 20, 2017, MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, YAMAGUCHI, JAPAN – Explosive ordnance disposal Marines with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron conducted emergency destruct training at Target Island, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, July 14, 2017.
The training allows the Marines to prepare for unexpected aircraft incidents involving explosive hazards or gasoline bombs.
“If there’s an aircraft incident on the installation, we need to know how to handle the explosive threats and deal with them accordingly,” said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Chaz West, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with H&HS. “That’s what we were practicing here today.”
The EOD Marines trained to safely mitigate the explosive hazards found on aircraft.
“There are a lot of kids, dependents and military personnel here,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Larue Martin, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with H&HS. “We want to them to be able to live and properly execute their mission in a safe environment. Our job is to make sure that happens.”
The Marines spent the day burying explosive devices in the sand and remotely detonating them from a bunker. Twenty pounds of composition 4, also known as C4, was used for each explosion set throughout the exercise.
EOD training is conducted on a regular basis, typically once or twice a month, to prepare for various ordeals.
“Every time we go to the island, it’s different,” said Martin. “Sometimes we run improvised explosive device scenarios, or we’ll bring out our tool kit to familiarize ourselves with the equipment and the procedures to use those tools properly and efficiently. Our job is so big and broad that we have a lot we need to familiarize ourselves with and be proficient at.”
EOD uses C4 as its primary explosive in training for incidents that involve aircraft mishaps or other bomb-related events.
“C4 is easy to manipulate, and it’s a plastic explosive, so it’s easier to use in case you need to mold it to a certain shape,” said Martin. “It’s our premier explosive we use to get rid of any kind of explosive hazard.”
Martin said his favorite part of the training was getting down and dirty and being hands-on with actual explosives. More importantly, he likes the opportunity to refresh the skills his job requires.
“These are perishable skills, so you need to be able to practice them often to be proficient at it,” said Martin. “I always like coming out here and doing my job.”
By Lance Cpl. Carlos Jimenez, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan