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Non-EOD Marines feel the pressure of building, handling explosives

By Pfc. Brendan King | | January 25, 2013

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TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Non-Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines came together to receive valuable bomb making knowledge from Marine Aviation Logistic Squadron 13, Marine Aircraft Group 13 personnel during the first iteration of the Integrated Training Exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Jan. 25.

The "Follow the Bomb" exercise was led by Staff Sgt. Sean Obrien, a MALS-13 ordnance explosive operations chief based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. and a native of Glen Ellyn, Ill. Marine Attack Squadron 311 and MAG-13 HQ personnel also participated in the training evolution.

"The Colonel (MAG-13 CO, Col. Michael Gough) wants all Marines in MAG-13 to understand the work behind putting high-explosives together and get a behind the scenes look at all the hard work that takes place when there is mostly always high demand for explosives in a combat environment," said Obrien.

The Marines were taught how make Mark 82 high-explosive bombs from scratch by the MALS-13 ordnance explosive personnel. After the Marines had made a set of six Mark 82's, with help from Obrien, the Marines were then put back into their squadrons to see what group could meet the demands fastest.

"In a deployed environment, the demand for these babies are high and you are constantly working at a fast pace for months on end," said Obrien. "We try to teach these Marines how fast you need to work when they are deployed but still keep everything at a professional maintainable manner."

Marines were chosen to be in the follow the bomb exercise specifically because of their lack of experience in the bomb engineering field. The exercise lasted for over five hours in which the staff stressed on making sure the Marines knew the power of the explosives that they were constructing.

"The Marines we gathered up were mostly intelligence and supply Marines and most of them had never seen this side of the Corps," said Sgt. Mathew Childs, a MAG-13 Supply Chief and a native of Goose Creek, SC. "To find out what these Mark 82's are used for and how powerful they are was a lot of valuable information that I hope the rest of the Marines take with them when they leave here."

Understanding different occupational fields across the Corps is part of what it means to be a well- rounded Marine. Understanding, first hand, what another Marines job entails helps better Marines and the overall mission.

"You usually don't get to see all the background information that all the other Marines around here do," said Childs. "By the end of the day we got to see how hard other Marines work just to complete another major part of the puzzle of the overall mission of the Marine Corps."

At the end of the day, the mission of the follow the bomb exercise was achieved by the MALS-13 ordnance explosive team. They educated several Marines on how to make explosives in a timely and safe matter while giving them a small taste of what it is like to have a job where your main mission is to follow the bomb.



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