MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- In the Marine Corps there are an abundance of Military Occupational Specialties varying from infantrymen to airborne and air delivery specialists.
One of the revered MOSs in the Marine Corps are the combat engineers.
Aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, the primary mission of combat engineers is to support Marine Aircraft Group 12 and station airfield operations, along with the adjacent units of MAG-12 including those that are part of the Unit Deployment Program.
As combat engineers, Marines assigned to this MOS are taught carpentry and other construction skills to alter, repair and maintain buildings and structures; as well as specialized demolitions for urban breaching and land mine warfare to be used alongside construction projects and the destruction of objects.
“‘Jack of all trades, master of none,’ that’s what most Marines say when you ask what a combat engineer is,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jamie Smith, the combat engineer staff noncommissioned officer in-charge with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Engineer Company, combat engineer platoon. “We are trained in a pretty broad arrange of skill sets from construction, to bridging, to demolition and counter (improvised explosive device) techniques.”
With more than 16 years as a combat engineer, Smith stated that he was allured to this field by having the opportunity to use explosive device. After being able to serve with Marines from all walks of life and MOS, he looks forward not only to breaking down walls but also building bridges and assisting Marines on the front lines.
“A Good bulk of our skills are put to the test when we take part in a training exercise,” said Lance Cpl. Emma Rohr, a combat engineer with MWSS-171, Engineer Company, combat engineer platoon. “We do everything on exercises, from building a forward operating base to clearing a jungle to make way for an expeditionary airfield.”
Rohr said she looks forward to testing her skills in field environments and, like Smith, she was first drawn to the MOS by the opportunity to “blow things up to smatterings,“ but after spending time aboard station she looks forward to assisting the Marines in the air by providing support on the ground.