Hard wire system used to detonate ordnance

Marines set up a hard wire system used to detonate ordnance at the range aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Sept. 8. They were testing and practicing with the hard wires for the upcoming air show. The Marines are with Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Marine Wing Support Detachment 31.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines from Marine Wing Support Detachment 31 conducted multi-purpose training aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Sept. 8.

The training was put together to provide an opportunity for the EOD technicians to sharpen their skills and maintain overall operational readiness for the unit. The Marines built improvised shaped charges, tested their hard line wire system and disposed of unexploded ordnance during the training event.

"We are sharpening our skills," said Sgt. Arcangel Barragan, an EOD technician with MWSD-31. "We always practice what we do before we need to do it in a real situation. That way we know exactly how it works and when it will go off. In this particular situation, we are testing out different shape charges on different materials and what kind of reaction we get."

The unit uses shaped charges to dispose of ordnance when it cannot be moved from the location it was discovered. If the ordnance can be moved, they take it back to the range to dispose of it.

"We use shaped charges to cut into a piece of ordnance without actually detonating," said Barragan. "It’s just enough to start burning out the explosives inside of it."

After creating the shaped charges and placing them on the unexploded ordnance, the Marines set up a hard line wire system to run the electrical impulses through that detonate the shaped charges.

"We’re doing demonstrations for the air station’s upcoming air show using a similar hard line wire system setup," said Sgt. Stephen Gomez, an EOD technician and the range safety officer with MWSD-31. "This training not only helps become more familiar with the system but it also helps us find better ways to use it and identified any issues that could come up."

After everything was set up, the Marines moved across the range into a bunker area and the charges were detonated in three series. The traditional and improvised charges detonated as planned.

"We are always training and using different methods on the ordnance to see if there is a better way," said Barragan. "In our job, thinking outside the box is encouraged. It allows us to improvise on the spot and learn from each other."