FORT DRUM, New York – Fresh from duty assisting New York in tackling COVID-19, New York Army National Guard combat engineers hit the ranges to practice clearing the battlefield of any other obstacles that stand in their way.Thirty-nine Soldiers from two platoons of Bravo Company, 152nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, spent their time at the demolition range as part of their annual training, honing their skills with things that blow up.Many of the unit Soldiers had already met the annual training requirement by serving as part of New York's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.The 152nd is the combat engineer brigade for the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.At the range, the engineers trained on the safe preparation and deployment of C4, Bangalore torpedoes, and cratering charges.Bangalore torpedoes consist of an explosive charge in a tube that is pushed under an obstacle like a concertina wire to destroy it.C4, the type of plastic explosive used by engineers, is deployed to remove obstacles and structures while cratering charges blow holes roads or runways to impede the enemy.Combat engineers have one of the most rigorous jobs in the U.S. Army. During war, they are tasked with breaching trenches, clearing obstacles, and constructing fortifications to slow the enemy's advance, said Keith Vosburg, a squad leader assigned to Bravo Company, 152nd Brigade Engineer Battalion."It's why I come out here to train for something like that," said PFC Tiger London. "So if we find ourselves in a combat situation, we'll be prepared and know what to do."While training at the range, the Soldiers were also able to conduct hands-on familiarization with the unit's TALON remotely operated tracked robot. Commonly used by military and civilian explosive ordnance disposal units, the TALON is a man-portable robot that can be used to identify and eliminate dangerous threats while keeping Soldiers out of harm's way."We use the TALON to inspect and identify unknown explosives," Vosburg said. "If we come across an IED, we can use the TALON to place a charge next to it. That way, we can detonate the IED without having to send someone downrange."Vosburg has been an engineer for the eight years of his Army career. But most of that time was as a "horizontal" engineer, building roads and runways.He switched over to the combat side of engineering, to further his career, Vosburg said. Now he's leading seven engineer Soldiers, often known as "Sappers" who specialize in blowing things up.U.S. Army combat engineers are often called 12 Bravos, in reference to the alphanumeric designation used to identify a Soldier's military occupational specialty.'My favorite thing about being on the 12 Bravo side would be the explosives," explained Vosburg, an Alfred, New York resident. "So far, it's been great. Everyone wants to be hands-on; they want to learn what to do; they want to pull the pins and blow stuff up."Aside from blowing stuff up, the Soldiers spent time at the small arms range where they could hone their marksmanship skills on both the M4 rifle and M9 pistol.As a squad leader, Vosburg is tasked with training and mentoring the junior combat engineers in his squad. "It's essential for them to sit down, listen to the training, and hone those skills because they're going to be teaching somebody one day.They're going to have to help other people succeed, whether in or outside of their squad. They're going to improve the unit readiness as a whole," he added."We're like one big family," London said. "We just get the job done."For more National Guard newsNational Guard FacebookNational Guard Twitter