Engineers get hands-on training with new line charge set-up Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 July 2013
 
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B6 Combat Engineer Heavy Truck Course students get first-hand experience with Linear Demolition Charges. This class is only held three times a year, giving engineers valuable hands-on training. This is the first class to be able to fire the Mine Clearing Line Charge or MICLIC in this configuration..
Story and photo by Melissa Buckley
GUIDON staff
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The M1A1 Abrams and the M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge are not new to the Army — but the combination is. Additional Skills Identifier B6 Combat Engineer Heavy Truck Course students on Fort Leonard Wood felt the ground rumble when they got their hands on the MX1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle, which has the M1A1 as the base, and its Linear Demolition Charge for the first time July 18.

“We teach this class three times a year, but this class was the first to be able to fire this,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Marcum, B6 Course chief, Warrior Training Team, 35th Engineer Battalion.

Marcum said the new configuration for the MICLIC on the ABV will save lives and time because Soldiers won’t have to mark or proof the lane, meaning they don’t have to get out of the vehicle anymore.

“The MICLIC has been around for a really long time. It’s a way to get through obstacles without having to put Soldiers in the obstacle belt. Now, we are firing it from a M1 platform, so there are only a couple of Soldiers involved in the whole process. Something that used to take a whole platoon of combat engineers now only takes one vehicle and a couple Soldiers to make it through wire obstacles and mine fields. Also, the ABV has a plow on the front; after the blast you can just push right through,” Marcum said.

He believes there is no substitute for hands-on training when it comes to the learning how to use the MICLIC on the ABV.

“The vehicle along with the MICLIC and the plow is already a 70-class vehicle. It’s a massive ball of steel with explosives strapped to it. You can only learn so much from a PowerPoint. The Soldiers need to feel the vehicle and how it moves with the additional weight,” Marcum said.

Pfc. Christopher Ausborn, B6 Course student, agreed.

“We looked at it in the book, but the hands-on experience has made me feel prepared to use it,” Ausborn said.

The MX1150 ABV is a tracked combat engineer vehicle developed on a modified M1A1 tank chassis with the same engine, transmission and vehicle controls. The ABV provides deliberate and in-stride breaching capability of minefields and complex obstacles. Alone it weighs 68 tons.

The M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge, or on the ABV its known as the LDC Linear Demolition Charge, has a length of 555 feet — with an explosive linear charge section of 350 feet.

The MICLIC can clear a lane 14 meters wide and 100 meters deep.

    Ausborn said he was glad the MICLIC on the ABV was part of the B6 Course because it was his first experience with that kind of charge.

“It was a lot louder than I expected. It was cool. It’s definitely a core component of this class,” Ausborn said.

Even though the sweltering heat was bearing down on the class all day, Ausborn said it was obvious why he was having fun learning.

“I am a combat engineer — I like to blow stuff up.”

With class sizes of 30 Soldiers, the Additional Skills Identifier B6 Combat Engineer Heavy Truck Course is a 14-week, 2-day course covering all the Skill Level One critical tasks required for operating the ABV, AVLB and ACE. This training includes the use of simulators and hands-on operations to include vehicle maintenance, vehicle operations, obstacle reduction and survivability.

(Editor’s note: Sgt. 1st Class Jason Fliginger, B6 Course senior instructor, contributed to this story.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 August 2013 )