Photo Information

Pfc. Matthew A. Caron, 19, from Manchester, NH, uses a sledgehammer to practice breaching through a door during raid rehearsals here Feb. 16. Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment conducted mechanized raid training here Feb. 16-20. The Marines received instruction on the proper way to successfully breach doors and windows and took turns following the classes.

Photo by Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

Coming in: Company practices breaching

20 Feb 2009 | Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Even bad guys know to lock their doors, but Marines know how to bust them down.

Marines with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, practiced breaching techniques as part of motorized raid training that took place here Feb. 16-20. The training was done to help prepare the Marines for their upcoming deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit later this year.

As part of the exercise, Marines practiced mechanical breaching, which consists of manually breaking into a structure using sheer strength and handheld tools and is usually done by breaking windows or destroying doors to quickly and efficiently enter a structure.

To move fast while maintaining the element of surprise, sometimes Marines use demolition. However, blasting a door open with explosives could harm those on the other side, so that outcome must be weighed.

“You would only use it when all else failed or if it’s an assault on a known target,” said Cpl. Matthew A. Hubbard, 24, from Northern California. “It’s just not good to risk the collateral damage.”

Breachers carry a variety of tools with them. Among those is the Hooligan tool, an L-shaped tool designed to wedge doors open. A sledgehammer and bolt cutters are some of the more commonly known tools Marines use.

The tools themselves help a lot when trying to enter a building, but they still require a great amount of force from the Marine using them.

“Sometimes it will take a few hits with the hammer before the door opens. It’s not like you’re going to hit the door once and it will always open for you,” said Lance Cpl. Corey J. Gabler, 21, from Stirling, Ill. “There’s a difference between opening and breaking a door, and breaking it doesn’t always happen as easily.”

It’s easy to lose the element of surprise when trying to knock down doors that won’t give in on the first try.

“You don’t really want your men lined up outside standing there while one of them is making all kinds of noise trying to break a door down,” said Sgt. Joseph K. Jones, 23, from Elkhorn, Wis. “When you’re stacked up on a building, your main priority is to get inside that building as soon as possible and out of the open.”

During the five-day raid training, the infantry Marines put their breaching skills to use by busting through doors and windows.  

“It’s kind of cool getting to beat down a door with a hammer,” Lance Cpl. Joseph Kakascik, 19, from Carrollton, Ohio. “This kind of training is a lot more fun than most of the other stuff we do.”

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

Read Biography

Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

Read Biography

Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Read Biography