Story by 1LT Eugene Molisso on 10/03/2018A breach man' breaks position from the file and approaches the door quietly. He places what is known as a donut charge against the door and then tactically falls back into the file formation to join his teammates. After a timed-delay and a countdown, the charge detonates, which blows the door in and sends wood splinters through the air.
Breaching and clearing is one of the primary roles of a combat engineer, among many others. Explosives are a common piece of an engineer's kit and utilizing them to blow doors and obstacles is just another day on the job.
On June 7, a platoon from the 95th Clearance Company, 84th Engineer Battalion held a demolition range on Schofield Barracks where they practiced these tasks with joint partners from the Combat Assault Company of the 3rd Marine Regiment out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
The donut charge is one of many types of tools that the engineers from the 95th Clearance Co. shared with their Marine counterparts.
"A donut charge is small, light, and easy to employ. It is used to blow out the door knob and its deadbolt on a basic door", said 1st Lt. Grant Grainger, a platoon leader with 95th who was serving as the officer in charge of the exercise.
The Soldiers and Marines spent most of the morning fabricating different types of charges using detonation cord and double-sided tape. The engineers from both services shared several charges and exchanged tactics and techniques for emplacing and employing them.
"The Army guys showed us some newer priming tools that we haven't gotten a chance to work with yet", said Marine Cpl. Christopher Hornberger. "That's the value of training with different services. If they have newer or different equipment, we get a chance to train with it and be familiar with it before we even get fielded it."
Staff Sgt. Mohamed Fouad from 95th Clearance Co. did the majority of coordination for the event to happen. "Our role as combat engineers in the Pacific means we have to be diverse and multifunctional. Being able to train on some of the Marine's equipment gave our Soldiers a unique look at different ways to accomplish our task in the future."
"We never know what obstacle we will face or who we will be working with in a situation," added Fouad. "Today was value added for our Soldiers as we try to be better-rounded with demolition expertise".
Hornberger was shown a timed-delay fuse that the Marines don't typically use. "I think using that fuse and method can expand our capabilities in the future," he said.
The 95th Clearance Co. and 3rd Marine Reg. built a strong relationship over loud explosions on Schofield Barracks. In the future, they both plan on completing additional training exercises together that will boost capabilities, expertise, and improve joint relationships.
"We are inviting them to some of our future events and we discussed being involved in some amphibious assault training that they have in the future," said Fouad. "Chances like these are too valuable, we have to take advantage of them."
The 95th Clearance Co. is charged with conducting missions that include route clearing, minesweeping, and demolition to enable force protection and freedom of manuever for the 84th Engineer Bn. and across the Indo-Pacific theater.