CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion conducted multiple route clearance missions during retrograde operations in northern Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 3-5.
“Our mission is to verify all threats are free from the road,” said 2nd Lt. Joseph Jamgochian, 4th platoon commander, Route Clearance Company, 2nd CEB. “Overall our missions go very smooth without any hitches because the Marines spend a lot of time preparing their gear prior to each operation.”
Combat engineers are constantly checking and double-checking their equipment and vehicles. Mine detection equipped vehicles are verified for proper working order each day.
“We spend most of our time on maintenance with our trucks to make sure nothing is going to go wrong,” said1st Lt. Joseph Garcia, 2nd platoon commander, Route Clearance Co., 2nd CEB.
Marines and sailors on mounted patrols conducting operations rely on combat engineers and route clearance platoons to verify the routes to and from patrol bases and forward operating bases are clear of threats, such as improvised explosive devices.
“The Marines do a great job on missions,” said Jamgochian, a 24-year-old native of Santa Maria, Calif. “They adapt very quickly to any situation and overcome any obstacles to complete the mission.”
Each route clearance platoon that attaches to a mounted patrol consists of Marine operators, several minesweeping vehicles and improvised explosive device detection dogs with their handlers.
Most recently, the combat engineers were responsible for clearing the way for retrograde operations for Marines and equipment leaving Sangin, Afghanistan, and returning to Camp Leatherneck.
“We cleared the route from Sabit Qadam in Sangin District for Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment,” said Garcia, a 24-year-old native of Miami. “It was a historic occasion. The Marines that have been rotating out there for more than four years now have handed it completely over to the Afghan National Army.”
Performing an in-depth clearance of IEDs of a frequently traveled route is a specialty among the Marines with 2nd CEB. During a 65-mile mounted convoy from Sabit Qadam, there were no vehicle maintenance incidents due to the preparation prior from Marines with Route Clearance Co. No aspect is overlooked or underestimated.
“The Marines with the route clearance platoon who attached with us are great at what they do,” said 1st Lt. Seth Monroe, motor transportation platoon commander with Combat Logistics Battalion 7. “They know their job in and out and get done what needs to be done.”
“We take pride in our job,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew Rodgers, a combat engineer with 2nd CEB and native of Dothan, Ala. “Our job is to find IEDs and keep the unit we’re attached to out of harm’s way. The Marines of 2nd CEB make sure everyone comes home safe every time we go out.”