EAST LYME, Conn. – Connecticut National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 250th Multi-Role Bridge Company conducted urban breach training at Stones Ranch Military Reservation June 15.
The two-day event was part of the unit’s two-week annual training. The first day revolved around classroom instruction and breach charge construction followed by a day at the range to use the charges, simulate breaching doors, and create access points to buildings.
Although the Soldiers assigned to the 250th are bridge engineers, a basic understanding of demolition is one of the many skills they possess but don’t get the opportunity to put into practice regularly.
“At basic training, when we’re learning our job skill, we train with the 12B – which are combat engineers – and their primary [job] is to breach and blow things up,” said Spc. Samantha Pozo, a bridge engineer assigned to the 250th MRBC. “So this is giving us the opportunity to brush up on our skills.
“As a unit, we build bridges. We’ve done a couple of raft bridges, a couple of land bridges. … We’re pretty proficient in building our bridges, so it’s a fun experience to blow some things up and get some training we don’t usually get.”
Pozo also said most of the demolition training her unit has conducted focused on larger explosives, such as C4, but reinforcing her breaching skills has been beneficial because it’s a more realistic skill she may be called upon to use on the modern battlefield.
Breaching charges are created using detonation cord, which consists of a high-explosive core wrapped in a waterproof plastic coating, and a blasting cap. The Soldiers constructed multiple charge shapes, such as one to wrap around a door handle and another to stick onto a wall. Each of these designs serves a different purpose, but with the same result: to give entry into an otherwise inaccessible location.
According to 1st Lt. Michael Fazzino, the officer in charge of the range, although demolition isn’t a primary job skill for the 250th, part of the unit’s strength comes from the versatility of its Soldiers.
This training required the Soldiers to work in teams to not only build their skills but also the bonds they share as Soldiers and teammates.
“We train together and we fight together,” said Pozo. “There’s been a lot of good teamwork and a lot of good camaraderie; it’s been a good training and team-building experience, that’s for sure.”