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An explosion breaches a door at the live fire breach range facility on JBER. Paratroopers with A Company, 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, conducted the training to maintain proficiency as combat engineers. (U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith)
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Posted 9/14/2012   Updated 9/14/2012 Email story   Print story


by Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith
4-25th ABCT Public Affairs

9/14/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- A two-hour road march finished with a bang as Soldiers conducted hands-on breaching and shaped-charge explosives training Aug. 28, at JBER's live-fire breach-range facility.
Soldiers with A Company, 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, turned their classroom learning into real, hands-on experience using C-4 explosives, and detonation cord to blow holes in the ground and doors off hinges.

Army Staff Sgt. Jacob D. Matson, the battalion's noncommissioned officer in charge of the training, said most of the Soldiers participating were new to the Army, and it was great to give them a first-hand opportunity to learn and train in their military occupation specialty: 12B, combat engineer.

He said the training will prepare the troops to go to their platoons and squads when the main elements of their battalion return from their deployment in Afghanistan.

Matson said the unit's main mission right now is route clearance, which is comprised primarily of dispatching improvised explosive devices. First-hand knowledge of explosive handling is very important, he said, and the more repetitions they get working with the explosives, the better it is for them.

Safety was a key component of the training, and the unit supplied trained medics and observed range regulations, and standoff distances.

The battalion's officer in charge of the training, Army 2nd Lt. James D. Lewis, said the event was 10-weeks in the making and he was happy to see it all come together. He said his men were in great shape and handled the physical road march into the training site with ease.

Pfc. Alex Schultz, said he felt the training will prepare him and his fellow Soldiers to go out with the infantry and conduct urban operations.

"We have been learning how to do this for months now, and we actually get to come out and apply it today," Schultz said. "It's awesome, it's great. You don't get to do this anywhere else."

"Where else can we use C-4 explosives, blow stuff up and get paid for it," he said. "I have been in the Army for barely a year, and I have already done more than any civilian would. So it's great, I love it here."

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