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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

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Mine Clearance assets are integrated onto AAVs

By Lance Cpl. Maritza Vela | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | June 21, 2017

Marines and civilians from Marine Corps Systems Command based in Quantico, Va. visited Camp Pendleton to teach Marines from 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, how to properly install, operate, and maintain the MK-154 Launcher Mine Clearance.

The MK-154 LMC is being reintroduced to the fleet after safety issues halted its employment in 2013, according to Capt. Anthony Molnar, a combat engineer officer with MarCorSysCom. Some updates include a self-bleeding hydraulic system and a test system lets the operator know if it is safe to fire. Additionally, vehicle power is no longer necessary to fire the weapon.

“If something happens to the vehicle and you lose power, there is an internal power system that runs with the MK-154” said Staff Sgt. Bryan Hildebrandt, MK-154 instructor for Assault Amphibian Schools Battalion.

A fully loaded MK-154 carries three rockets and three line charges. Each rocket, when detonated, will clear a path 14-meters wide by 100-meters long.“I like the fact that I’m able to support other units” said Hilderbrandt. “I think it’s a great experience to see the bigger picture of how the Marine Corps conducts mechanized raids.”

In 2003, Marines were able to use the MK-154 to breach areas during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Marines from 3rd AA Bn. are participating in a week-long course to train and license them to operate the MK-154 LMC. The course includes classroom instruction, practical application, and a firing day. Once these Marines are trained and qualified, the assault amphibian community will be responsible for teaching other Marines. It will be a requirement that all assault amphibian vehicle crewmen know how to operate the weapon system.

“It allows us to maintain that force of readiness when it comes to ship to sore movement and allows us to connect the Navy with the Marine Corps,” he said.

The system is the only amphibious breaching capability within the Department of Defense, allowing the forces assault mined areas.