‘Diehard’ engineers take to the range
STORY RANGE, South Korea – Engineers with the 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, practiced various breaching techniques using live explosives at the Story Live Fire Range in South Korea Feb. 4.
During their training, the engineers of the “Diehard” battalion learned hands on how to properly breach razor wire obstacles using Bangalore explosive charges, create C4 plastic explosive line mains and breach doors using assorted explosive techniques.
The first part of training involved Soldiers tactically moving as a squad toward an obstacle, in this case a barrier made of razor wire, and placing an explosive charge underneath the obstacle prior to moving back to a safe distance and detonating the charge.
Next, the Soldiers set up doors, both medal and wood, and used different breaching techniques designed to blow the door open or make it to where Soldiers can open the door prior to conducting a tactical entry of the facility.
“The training today went great,” said Capt. John Trump, the commander of Company B, 1st Eng. Bn. “We were able to accomplish everything planned with no issues.”
The key to the training was allowing Soldiers to get hands on with live explosives, something engineers don’t do very often in a training environment.
“We can try to do this all day with inert explosives, but if we do it with inert explosives, you don’t really get that live feel and that rush of adrenaline for having live explosives in your hand,” said Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Craven, a platoon sergeant with Company B. “For platoon leaders to see that and actually experience it first hand with live demolition is paramount to our training.”
According to Trump, being able to conduct training such as this is one of the main reasons Soldiers choose to be engineers.
“This is the bread and butter of what an (engineer) does,” Trump said. “(Engineers) join the Army to blow stuff up. It’s not every day they get to do it, so when we get the opportunity to get out on a demo range, it’s nothing but smiles.”
Engineer battalions like the 1st Eng. Bn., bring a myriad of unique capabilities to the brigades they support.
“Engineers are important because we bring a capability to the maneuver commander that they cannot provide for themselves,” Trump said. “We enable them, mostly in this type of unit, by breaching. It brings an added effect to the battlefield that we have in our toolkit.”
For the younger Soldiers, the training at Story Range was a unique experience that has allowed them to maintain readiness and the “Fight Tonight” mentality expected of those working within the 2nd Infantry Division / ROK-US Combined Division.
“It was a lot different from our usual training,” said Pfc. Salvador Cota, an engineer with the “Diehard” battalion. “We’ve been doing it a lot lately since we’ve been in Korea and overall, it was just phenomenal training.”
The 1st Eng. Bn. is the oldest and most decorated engineer battalion in the Army, and the Soldiers of the “Diehard” battalion are charged with maintaining the history of excellence.
“There’s been some great Soldiers to come through this battalion,” Cota said. “It feels great to follow in the steps of those that came before us.”
The 1st Eng. Bn. is in South Korea with the 1st ABCT as part of a nine-month rotational mission in support of the 2nd Inf. Div.’s commitment to security on the Korean peninsula.