Marine Corps Military Engineering

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The United States Marines’ military engineering needs are provided by the Marine Corps Combat Engineer Battalions.

The mission of combat engineers is to provide mobility, counter mobility, survivability, and limited general engineering support. Mobility includes the assessment and fortification of roadways and bridges, the clearing of enemy obstacles and landmines, and assault breaching. Counter mobility includes creating obstacles and barriers for the enemy, which could include the destruction of structures and/or bridges.

Survivability includes the fortification of positions and the construction of new outposts.

Other jobs can include Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), construction, and utilities (such as generators and refrigeration). Combat engineers use a variety of tools for their trade - some vehicles include the M9 Armored Combat Earthmover, D7 Bulldozer, M60A1 Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge, as well as more common construction equipment such as cranes and forklifts.

The general saying for the Marines is “Every Marine is a rifleman” – and their Combat Engineers are no exception.  These engineers build, repair and maintain buildings, roads and power supplies, and are responsible for employing explosives for construction and demolition projects.  They also operate the Assault Breacher Vehicle for clearing minefields.

The typical tasks undertaken by Combat Engineering includes constructing and breaching trenches, tank traps and other fortifications, bunker construction, bridge and road construction or destruction, laying or clearing land mines, and other physical work in the battlefield.

 More generally, the combat engineer's goals involve facilitating movement and support of friendly forces while impeding that of the enemy – such as creating obstacles and barriers, which could include the destruction of structures, roadways and / or bridges.

And if they ain’t got what they need… they acquire it.

  In 1942, a Marine Corps Combat Engineer Battalion landed on Guadalcanal with a severe shortage of engineer equipment.  Rather than letting that stop them, they captured and used Japanese bulldozers and trucks to help complete the airfield and the defenses along the Marine perimeter.  In other campaigns of WWII, Combat Engineers participated in Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa.

Combat Engineers were among the units that landed and occupied the island of Grenada in 1983.

For Operation Desert Shield, Combat Engineer Battalions were on hand to unload MPF shipping and preparing defensive positions during Operation Desert Shield. Six months later, the engineers breached Iraqi minefields and obstacles as they attacked into Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.

More recently engineers have participated in military operations in Bosnia, Haiti, and Cuba.

Marine Combat Engineers also participate in response to natural disasters – for example, in August of 1994, a company of Combat Engineers was provided to the Wenatchee National Forest in Yakima, Washington, and the Kootenai National Forest in Libby, Montana, in support of Task Force Wildfire, to help efforts in containing the wildfires in Tyee, Washington, and Koocanusa, Montana.

The Marines have two active duty, one (presently) decommissioned, and one Reserve Engineer Support Battalions (ESB):

1st Combat Engineer Battalion – based at Camp Pendleton, CA.  Their nickname is “The Super Breed and their motto is “Ready to Fight"

2nd Combat Engineer Battalion – based out of Camp Lejune, NC.  Their Motto is “Engineers lead the way”

3rd Combat Engineer Battalion – based out of Twentynine Palms, CA.  Their motto is “Demolition is the Mission” The 3rd CEB was activated for the War on Terror in October 2007 and decommissioned 2014 August.

4th Combat Engineer Battalion – headquartered in Baltimore, MD, with units in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.

  Their motto is "One team, one fight"

The Marines also have a Combat Engineer battalion in each division and engineer assets in each Marine Wing Support Group.

The Marine Corps military engineering occupations consist of MOS’s in Occupational Field 13:

Enlisted

Warrant Officer, Limited Duty Officer, Unrestricted Lone Officer

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