FORT STEWART, Ga. - The 530th Clearance Company, 92nd Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, conducted a five-part demolition range training event at the Engineers Qualification Area, Oct. 17, 2019, at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
The demo range challenged combat engineers to regain their confidence, enhance their technical proficiency and prepare themselves for missions overseas through a confidence blast, timber cutting, urban breaching, cratering and steel cutting.
"Practicing with demo will make combat engineers more effective in three main [focus] areas: mobility, counter mobility, and survivability," said 1st Lt. Zachary Butler, the officer in charge of the demolition range, assigned to 530th Clearance Co.
"The biggest thing for a range like this is to aid the combat engineers in becoming technically and tactically proficient through the use of the skills learned in advanced individual training and assessing how they would employ these charges in different scenarios," said Butler.
A back to basics approach reassures the Soldiers of the knowledge they acquired throughout their AIT training and reminded them of what steps are necessary to successfully prepare and detonate charges made up of detonation cord, composition C-4 and other explosives, said Butler.
Before any explosions went off, the combat engineers prepared their C-4 and got their measurements ready for a clean and accurate demolition.
"We determine how many inches of det-cord is needed for the specific training portion and how much explosive per inch is needed to determine the minimal safe distance for the Soldier detonating," said Sgt. Joseph Rice, a combat engineer assigned to 530th Clearance Co. and one of the safety operators on the range.
"All of that goes into confidence building for these Soldiers to feel sure about the actions they're taking here and on the battlefield," said Rice.
According to Rice, one of the goals for the leadership was to guide the Soldiers into feeling more confident about making mistakes and using them as springboards to success.
"Fear, that's the biggest thing. We're using explosives and materials that if you make the wrong move, apply the wrong pressure, you can detonate the explosives and those are our fellow engineer's lives that may be lost, to include civilians also," said Spc. Lamar Jelks, a combat engineer assigned to 530th Clearance Co. and one of the safety operators on the range.
"Putting my trust into the non-commissioned officers on the ground, and engaging the mission knowing that you have been set-up for success while paying attention to the little things prevents the things I and other combat engineers fear happening," said Jelks.
This demolition range kicks off the training cycle for the 92nd Engineers Battalion who have recently returned from supporting the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve mission, fighting Daesh, in the Middle East.
Their support of SOJTF-OIR consisted of route clearance and various other projects depending on their locations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fiscal Year 20 will contain various training missions for the 92nd Eng. Bn., preparing their Soldiers for future missions in austere environments.
"On an individual and team level, this type of training continues to ensure that combat engineers lead the way on enhancing the 3rd Infantry Division and the Army's warfighting position through demolitions," said Butler.