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Khamsa, Arba’a, Thalatha, Ithnayn, Wahid, boom! Any way you count, it still ends with a bang

3 Jun 2012 | Sgt. Richard Blumenstein 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Khamsa, Arba’a, Thalatha, Ithnayn, Wahid, boom! An expression frequently heard on a desert training range here, May 14, as members of the Jordanian Armed Forces and Lebanese Army counted down from five to detonate explosives during a day of multilateral training led by Marines with the engineer platoon from Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The training focused on working with Jordanians, Lebanese, and other Marines on how to assemble and use Urban Military Breaching Charges, called UMBC’s by the Marines.

“The purpose of today’s training was to get our platoon out here with the Jordanians and Lebanese and show them our job and how to work the explosives,” said Cpl. Steven McMillen, a combat engineer with Engineer Platoon.

The training also gave the Marines, Jordanians and Lebanese an opportunity to get better acquainted with each other before the official launch of Exercise Eager Lion 12, which took place throughout May and was designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships of more than 19 participating partner nations.

“We will be more comfortable with each other because of this,” McMillen said.

The Marines demonstrated the assembly of charges including doughnut charges, improvised mortar charges, and detonation linear charges.

“Expedient charges are charges you put together in a short period of time,” said 1st Lt. Herman Davis, the platoon commander for Engineer Platoon. “Basically, those charges can be used for doors, doorknobs, windows, things of that nature. Any form for penetrating a building.”

The UMBCs allow Marines to stand close to an obstacle they breach so they can rapidly move through the newly created entry point. Marines stand between 7 and 13 feet away with no shield based on the explosive power of the charge, Davis said.

At the end of the training the Marines, Jordanians and Lebanese parted ways to begin further preparation for Eager Lion 12.

“We learned so much from the Marines,” said Lebanese Army Sgt. Ali Slieman, a scout sniper. “It was awesome.”