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NEWS | Oct. 5, 2015

Philippine, U.S. Marines execute demolition training during PHIBLEX 15

By Cpl. Ryan Mains 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

“Three, two, one,” said U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Corey Jeffers, counting down the seconds before detonating composition C4 plastic explosives, sending shards of metal in all directions. Once the debris clears, helmeted heads peek over a berm to view the damage caused by the explosion. For many in the group, this is the first time experiencing an explosion in person. 

The detonation was just one of many as Philippine and U.S. Marines trained side-by-side during demolition training as part of Amphibious Landing Exercise 2015, Oct. 2. 

PHIBLEX is an annual, bilateral training exercise conducted by U.S. service members and their Armed Forces of the Philippines counterparts in order to strengthen working relationships across a wide range of military operations. 

“We came out here to get the Philippine Marines involved and show them our ways of doing improvised explosives such as improvised bangalores, improvised shaped charges and different ways of using explosives without having them factory-made,” said Jeffers, a platoon sergeant with Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. 

Marines from both countries trained on how to use a time fuse, calculate burn rates and standoff distance, as well as how to build charges and initiate detonations. 

Although this is Philippine Marine Pfc. Mike Asiguardo’s second time participating in PHIBLEX, there is always an opportunity to learn something new. This time it happens to be learning about composition C4 plastic explosive and claymore mines. 

“The U.S. Marines are teaching us how to use the claymore and how to make a bomb with C4,” said Asiguardo, a rifleman with the 7th Marine Brigade, Armed Forces of the Philippines. “It is kind of new for us, because the only troops who usually do this kind of stuff are the improvised explosive device teams.”

Prior to starting the range, the Philippine and U.S. Marines packed C4 into a piece of metal and then placed detonation cord on top with tape to hold it down. 

“C4 is pliable, so it is moldable and we can use it for a lot of different things like cutting fences, cutting concertina wire, cutting breaches, blowing breaches and blowing doors,” explained Jeffers, a native of Steeleville, Illinois. 

The highlight for many was getting the opportunity to pull the charges for the claymores.

“My favorite thing I have done with the Marines has to be detonating that claymore,” said Asiguardo, a native of Manilla. “I never get to do stuff like that. We are so thankful for you guys teaching us everything and training side-by-side with us.”

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