Utilitiesman 1st Class Luis Alarcon (left), assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, shows Ukrainian Marines how to place pickets for a concertina wire structure during Sea Breeze 2016 in Shiroky Lan, Ukraine, July 25, 2016. Sea Breeze is a multinational exercise co-hosted by Ukraine and the United States and seeks to enhance interoperability with Black Sea and regional partners and strengthen regional security through air, land and sea components, which tests forces’ capabilities throughout the full spectrum of operations. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brittney Cannady/160725-N-YM856-104)
Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 and U.S. Marines with Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST) Company Europe participated in a training exercise with Ukrainian Marines of the 36th Engineering Regiment, July 25.
The event provided the Ukrainian military a chance to learn proper techniques for laying triple strand concertina wire during combat operations. Triple concertina wire consists of two lines of concertina serving as a base with a third line resting on top with staggered joints, or pickets and when erected properly it forms an effective obstacle that is difficult to cross, cut or penetrate.
To help explain the training exercise, Seabees and FAST Company Marines worked with an interpreter and gave a brief presentation on laying concertina wire before getting down to business.
“We put this training together so the engineers would be able to see some of the methods we use during our own evolutions, add to the skill set that they already have,” said Builder 1st Class Joshua Cooper, lead instructor.
As subject matter experts, FAST Company Marines served as instructors for the tactical portion of the event.
“I think having the slideshow to discuss was a good starting point for the Ukrainian engineers, because once we got the wire, stakes and other materials out in front of them, they were able to see for themselves how it all comes together,” said Marine Corps Cpl. Ryan Gardner. “They learned really quick, even with the short amount of time we had today, so that was pretty impressive.”
The engineers were split into three teams and given the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they learned, with one group in charge of laying pickets, one to install them, and a third to lay out the concertina rolls. Instructors acted as safety observers and ensured the teams’ placement was correct. Accurately laying pickets is a crucial part of assembling the structure; when done the right way it prevents intruders from breaking through the wire.
After the teams finished their sections, they competed in a race to see how quickly they could lay triple strand wire without help, and completed the challenge in only eight minutes.
“We gave them 15 minutes to get the wire done and they were able to get it done in half that time,” said Cooper. “The Ukrainian Marines really knocked it out of the park today. We partnered with them during the first portion of training and when they figured out how to get their placement right, they finished quickly. I think the course really gave them confidence to be able to build the best structure they can.”
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ryan Gardner (right), assigned to Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST) Company Europe, shows a Ukrainian Marine how to properly lay concertina wire during Sea Breeze 2016 in Shiroky Lan, Ukraine, July 25, 2016. Sea Breeze is a multinational exercise co-hosted by Ukraine and the United States and seeks to enhance interoperability with Black Sea and regional partners and strengthen regional security through air, land and sea components, which tests forces’ capabilities throughout the full spectrum of operations. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brittney Cannady/160725-N-YM856-095)