• Soldiers from the 744th Engineer Battalion, 744th Engineer Company and 368th Engineer battalion prepare a M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge for detonation July 24 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. MICLIC's are used to clear danger areas troops need to travel through, that are suspected of containing explosives. The MICLIC is a rocket projected explosive, which is connected to 350 feet of rope covered with blocks of C-4 explosives. After being launched, the rope of C-4 is detonated clearing a vehicle wide path through potentially deadly terrain.  (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang / 205TH Press Camp Headquarters)

    Army Reserve engineers practice demolition at WAREX

    Soldiers from the 744th Engineer Battalion, 744th Engineer Company and 368th Engineer battalion prepare a M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge for detonation July 24 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. MICLIC's are used to clear danger areas troops need to travel...

  • Staff Sgt. Dustin Peay, 744th Engineer Company from Evanston, Wyo., leans against a blast proof bunker while he observes his Soldiers preparing explosives to be used for training July 24 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. Combat Engineers from across America met up at Fort Hunter Liggett for valuable explosives training. "The value of this training is not measurable because explosives are unforgiving," said Peay. "Without constant training these skills perish, and these skills are essential for deployment to eliminate dangers on the battlefield." (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang / 205th Press Camp Headquarters)

    Army Reserve engineers practice demolition at WAREX

    Staff Sgt. Dustin Peay, 744th Engineer Company from Evanston, Wyo., leans against a blast proof bunker while he observes his Soldiers preparing explosives to be used for training July 24 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. Combat Engineers from across...

  • Soldiers from the 744th Engineer Battalion, 744th Engineer Company and 368th Engineer battalion prepare a M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge for detonation July 24 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. The Soldiers only get to fire off live explosives on rare occasions, so they are excited to learn how to fire a MICLIC. The MICLIC is propelled by a solid fuel rocket, which is connected to a 100 meter rope of five pound blocks of C-4 explosives. After being launched, the rope of C-4 is detonated clearing a vehicle-wide path through potentially deadly terrain.   (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang / 205TH Press Camp Headquarters)

    Army Reserve engineers practice demolition at WAREX

    Soldiers from the 744th Engineer Battalion, 744th Engineer Company and 368th Engineer battalion prepare a M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge for detonation July 24 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. The Soldiers only get to fire off live explosives on rare...

  • Sgt. Leah Dicke and Cpl. Jerome Goforth, combat engineers with the 368th Engineer Battalion, prepare a brick of C-4 for detonation by placing a strip of detonation cord between two blocks of C-4, and then taping it all together into a brick with tape July 24 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. "Im not nervous when handling the C-4 because it's actually fairly stable," said Dicke, "You actually need heat and pressure both combined to make C-4 detonate. C-4 is so safe it can even be lit on fire and used as firewood without exploding." (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang / 205TH Press Camp Headquarters)

    Army Reserve engineers practice demolition at WAREX

    Sgt. Leah Dicke and Cpl. Jerome Goforth, combat engineers with the 368th Engineer Battalion, prepare a brick of C-4 for detonation by placing a strip of detonation cord between two blocks of C-4, and then taping it all together into a brick with tape...

  • Sgt. Leah Dicke and Cpl. Jerome Goforth, combat engineers with the 368th Engineer Battalion, prepare a three pound brick of C-4 for detonation by placing a strip of detonation cord between two blocks of C-4, and then taping it all together into a brick with tape July 24 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. The brick is strung in sequence with approximately another 10 bricks of C-4 to create an explosion that makes the ground convulse when it goes off. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang / 205TH Press Camp Headquarters)

    Army Reserve engineers practice demolition at WAREX

    Sgt. Leah Dicke and Cpl. Jerome Goforth, combat engineers with the 368th Engineer Battalion, prepare a three pound brick of C-4 for detonation by placing a strip of detonation cord between two blocks of C-4, and then taping it all together into a brick...

  • Spc. Scott Griffiths and Sgt. Jordan Stott add blocks of C-4 to the sides of a cratering charge July 24, 2014, at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif, which has 45 pounds of explosives in it and is used to create large holes in the ground, to search for mines and unexploded ordinance. "This is almost enough C-4," said Stott. "If we're lucky enough this will be a nice big boom." (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang / 205TH Press Camp Headquarters)

    Army Reserve engineers practice demolition at WAREX

    Spc. Scott Griffiths and Sgt. Jordan Stott add blocks of C-4 to the sides of a cratering charge July 24, 2014, at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif, which has 45 pounds of explosives in it and is used to create large holes in the ground, to search for mines...

  • Combat Engineers from the 744th Engineer Battalion prep C-4 on a demo range by tying detonation chord onto transmission line, which is connected to the blast initiator July 24, 2014 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. This is the ultimate training environment for a combat engineer, because the range allowed for the detonation of multiple kinds of explosives, including but not limited to C-4, crater charges, make-shift bangalore devices and shape charges. The average brick of C-4 the combat engineers detonated was approximately three pounds of high intensity explosives. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang / 205TH Press Camp Headquarters)

    Army Reserve engineers practice demolition at WAREX

    Combat Engineers from the 744th Engineer Battalion prep C-4 on a demo range by tying detonation chord onto transmission line, which is connected to the blast initiator July 24, 2014 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. This is the ultimate training...

  • Soldiers from the 744th Engineer Battalion, 744th Engineer Company and 368th Engineer Battalion detonate 45 pounds of high-intensity explosives known as C-4 July 24, 2014, at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang / 205TH Press Camp Headquarters)

    Army Reserve engineers practice demolition at WAREX

    Soldiers from the 744th Engineer Battalion, 744th Engineer Company and 368th Engineer Battalion detonate 45 pounds of high-intensity explosives known as C-4 July 24, 2014, at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang /...

  • Soldiers from the 744th Engineer Battalion, 744th Engineer Company and 368th Engineer Battalion detonate 45 pounds of high-intensity explosives known as C-4 July 24, 2014, at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang / 205TH Press Camp Headquarters)

    Army Reserve engineers practice demolition at WAREX

    Soldiers from the 744th Engineer Battalion, 744th Engineer Company and 368th Engineer Battalion detonate 45 pounds of high-intensity explosives known as C-4 July 24, 2014, at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Pfc. Brian N. Lang /...

FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. - The 744th Engineer Battalion, 744th Engineer Company and 368th Engineer Battalion came together for training on essential combat engineer tasks and skills, including using explosives to remove obstacles, unexploded ordinance and removing obstacles in a unit's path of travel during the Warrior Exercise 91 14-03.

"Combat Engineers improve the lives, and establish security for the local population when deployed," said Sgt. Benjamin Heiner, a combat engineer with the 744th Engineer Battalion, based in Ogden, Utah. "However, to get to an acceptable level of muscle memory it takes lots and lots of practice."

This training allowed the Soldiers to observe how to set up, arm and fire a Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC), and practice packing, setting up, and firing a variety of plastic explosives.

"This training is priceless," said Capt. Steven Keister, Operations Officer for the 368th Engineer Battalion based out of Londonderry, New Hampshire. "These skills are perishable. Without constant and vigilant training the Soldiers are at risk of losing their proficiency."

The combat engineers started their morning by prepping a MICLIC, followed by the conducting of blast procedures and the blast countdown. Soldiers used the MICLIC brought for training with simulated explosives, because there are only two places in the U.S. where a live version can be fired off, because of how large the explosion is. The device has 350 feet of rope covered with blocks of simulated explosives.

"Valuable, massive and life-saving," said Keister. "Is the only way I can think of to describe the training going on for the WAREX. There is a high pay off to this training, because of how valuable it is to ensure that you know what you're doing when working with explosives."

One upside of this training is that the engineers get to ignite C-4, which they can rarely do.

"Combat engineers use specific methods and techniques to clear the battlefield of dangers that would otherwise injure a service member," said Heiner. "There are very technical and detail-oriented parts of this job that we don't always get to practice, but they're just as vital to ensuring safety as blowing up battlefield obstacles."

WAREX is helping to prevent loss of knowledge by shaping the way service members train permanently, which will lead to saving lives on the battlefield.

"There are three easy ways to both describe combat engineers and the job they do," said Heiner. "Loud. Dangerous. Valuable."

Page last updated Mon July 28th, 2014 at 00:00