FORT DEVENS, Mass. –
Combat Engineers from the Massachusetts National Guard trained with plastic explosives at Fort Devens, Mass., on Aug. 1, 2009.
The 182nd Engineer Company (Sapper), Massachusetts Army National Guard, conducted demolition training during their drill weekend using a variety of plastic explosive charges.
Combat engineers use explosives to disable minefields and other obstacles intended to stop friendly forces from advancing on the battlefield. It is necessary for a unit that handles explosives as part of their prescribed duties to achieve and maintain a high level of proficiency and safety while handling them.
Army 1st Sgt. Michael T. St. Cyr from the 182nd Engineer Company (Sapper), Massachusetts Army National Guard, said “Normally we use explosives for the purpose of destroying roads and bridges to prevent the enemy from using them. We also clear minefields so our forces can advance to their objectives but when we were in Iraq we also had six Soldiers who were qualified to blow up improvised explosive devices.”
The range at Fort Devens provides a safe environment for the Soldiers to practice individual tasks of preparing, placing and detonating small explosive charges. After placing their charges the Soldiers could watch them explode from a protective trailer equipped with safety glass.
Army Staff Sgt. Michael Rosa, 182nd Engineer Company (Sapper), Massachusetts Army National Guard, made sure the newest Soldiers in the unit prepared their charges properly and safely but also made them feel comfortable by cracking jokes and making small talk with them about his passion for being a combat engineer. Rosa said, “I really love blowing things up.”
Army Private Matthew Regis, 182nd Engineer Company (Sapper), Massachusetts Army National Guard, was new to the unit and the drill was his first opportunity to use explosives. Regis said, “I became a combat engineer to blow stuff up. I thought it sounded fun and figured why not?”
When the unit detonated a large underground-cratering charge the shockwave from the blast could be felt under foot like a rippling wave causing all of the Soldiers to laugh and enjoy their weekend doing what they love—blowing stuff up.