Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Iron Sappers have blast at range

2nd Lt. Philip Lee
Contributing writer

In a war that requires Soldiers to fight, conduct civil-affairs missions, and form alliances with local citizens, often in the same day, sometimes its fun just to blow things up.
The Company A “Iron Sappers” of the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT, successfully executed their explosive breaching mission May 27 through 29.
All of the Soldiers are now proficient in breaching a door with explosives using a variety of techniques. Using plastic explosives, more than 50 wooden and steel doors were safely blasted off their hinges.
Combat Engineers specialize in breaching obstacles in order to assist maneuver elements such as infantry, armor, and cavalry. Breaching doors with explosives is one of three methods. The two others are ballistic - the use of shotguns - or mechanical, using a Halligan tool to pry or break the door.
The need for breaching is especially important in today’s war because of the urban environment in which Soldiers operate. Combat engineers are often attached to maneuver units for this distinctive skill.
2nd Lt. Kenneth Stover, a platoon leader with the company who served as the range’s officer in charge, said that the Iron Sappers used the flex-linear, silhouette, donut, water-impulse, and C-charge techniques to breach the doors. The difference among these methods of breaching is the level of collateral damage. Factors such as the environment, possibility of non-combatants, and resources will dictate the method of breaching.
“The range was a great experience for new and seasoned Sappers alike,” said Spec. Scott Kelly, a combat engineer.
This is the last range for the Iron Sappers before departing to West Point as part of Task Force 4-31 for the United States Military Academy support mission, where they will train USMA Cadets in the conduct of live demolition training.

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