MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines from 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and 8th Engineer Support Battalion joined forces in a two-week long training event that began July 16th, at Engineer Training Area 9 and 10, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Probably one of the most important parts about this training however, is the class time that happens before any practical application can. These classes include communications, land navigation, urban demolition, assault breaching, counter Improvised Explosive Device, crew-served weapons, and engineer reconnaissance, said Master Sgt. Harry Dreany, the operations chief for 4th CEB, and Fredericksburg, Va. native.
Dreany said that these classes and practical applications are for the top performers in the CEB military occupational specialty.
“These classes are to take our already top performers in the MOS and enhance their SAPPER (a call sign amongst combat engineer units that designates them as engineers when attached to infantry units, and meaning that they are trained in a variety of fields) leader ability,” said Dreany.
Lance Cpl. Sean Wilt, a combat engineer with 4th CEB and Mechanicsville, Md. native, said that these classes will help to make them more proficient at their job.
“When we go back to our home units, we will be masters of what they teach us here,” said Wilt. “So when we go back to our home units, we teach the younger Marines what we’ve learned here and basically make our unit more proficient at what we do.”
Once the Marines get done with the classes they have practical application exams where they are tested on their knowledge of the subject that they just learned. That makes this training both mentally and physically stressful, said Dreany.
“It’s very important from a combat leadership perspective. It’s our opportunity to stress them out both physically and mentally, and then require them to be technically proficient,” said Dreany. “So when [they’re] tired, hungry and stressed out, it makes it a lot harder for them to [perform their jobs]. We do that here; force them to perform those MOS proficiencies while they’re stressed, tired and hungry in a combat-simulated environment.”
Wilt said that although the training is stressful, it is worth it.
“It’s hard and it’s intense, but it’s good and when you go to sleep at the end of the day you’re getting a good night’s sleep and then waking up the next morning and doing it all over again,” said Wilt. “I enjoy pushing myself to the next limit, and I know every other guy here enjoys the same thing.”
Along with the multiple classes they are taking, having the physical aspect of this training will benefit the Marines in the long run, said Dreany.
“When they are in a combat environment and they are in those stressful situations, it won’t be the first time that they’ve experienced that type of stress and they’ll know how to react, control and respond to it, and to be successful,” said Dreany.
Dreany said that the importance of taking the classes before doing anything else is so that the Marines can review the technical and academic aspects of what they’re doing, along with teaching them why and how they are doing it.
Dreany also said that if they learn in a controlled environment, it can produce confidence, proficiency and overall knowledge and when weather, fatigue and other stressors are added to the mix, due to confidence that they received in the classroom, they have something to fall back on.
Wilt said that classroom time and practical application time is better preparing them for what could possibly happen.
“It’s taking the basic, intermediate and advanced knowledge that we’ve learned over the years that we’ve been in and putting it all to the test,” said Wilt. “For those of us that haven’t been deployed, it’s kind of putting us in those stressful environments so that we can actually cope and work in them.”
It’s only the beginning of training for the Marines of 4th CEB, 2nd CEB and 8th ESB, and they still have a long way to go until they are done. However, Dreany does say one thing about the training so far;
“It couldn’t have been done without the support of the ETA staff, which is part of 2nd CEB.”