More than 40 paratroop­ers of the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Air­borne Division conducted a battalion breacher’s course, on Fort Bragg, July 29 through Aug. 9.

The “Red Falcons,” cur­rently part of the nation’s Global Response Force, held a breacher’s training course designed to equip infantry team members with the skills neces­sary to destroy obstacles like concertina or barbed wire barriers and employ mechanical, ballistic and explosive means of gaining rapid entry into locked structures. Such skills could prove particularly necessary in support of

contingency missions like noncombatant evacuation operations.

Just one part of a two­week effort to standardize and enhance special skills and mission essential task capabilities within

individual teams across the battalion, the breacher’s course was conducted alongside engineer and Ranger-trained subject matter experts. Some of the other train-the­trainer courses also being

taught those weeks were advanced rifle marksman­ship, driver’s training, ma­chine gun leaders course, and mortar certification.

By training a representa­tive from each subordinate platoon, squad or team, the battalion can ensure that the same standard is passed on to every team member.

“This will allow the paratroopers to have a better understanding of individual tasks so that when we go to platoon collective training or if we have to go into the­ater, it will make them more proficient across the battalion,” said 1st Lt. Warner Thompson, the officer-in-charge of the breacher’s training course. “The battalion is setting the standard of where we

need to operate at.”

The first phase of breacher’s training led the Red Falcon paratroop­ers through wire obstacle clearing procedures. Im­provised devices like the bangalore torpedo, a piece of metal pipe filled with explosives, can be used to quickly blast holes through razor wire barriers.

The troops then moved into urban breach­ing procedures. For the mechanical breaching instruction, the Falcons became familiar with tools like battering rams and the Halligan tool, a large prying bar also used by fireman for forcing open locked doors.

Once inside the build­ing, the Falcons dem­onstrated the ballistic breaching technique. Us­ing the M500 shotgun and ceramic Hatton rounds, students shattered the locking system with two

carefully placed shots.

The final door to con­front the teams required the use of one of two improvised explosive tools to open. The first, a “knob knocker,” consisted of a loop of detonating cord placed on the door handle that blasts the entire lock apart. The second op­tion was the “flex linear charge,” a length of detonating cord secured to the door with tape that is intended to cut the door off of its hinges.

With the use of explo­sives required for this training, the Red Falcons sought engineer support.

“We taught a classroom portion and then a practi­cal exercise on both the mined wire obstacle and urban breaching,” said Sgt. Aaron Wunderlin, the ranking combat engineer on site. “I’ve been lucky to go to a lot of schools and I enjoy sharing those tech­niques with these guys.”

Thompson, a Red

Falcon platoon leader, emphasized the impor­tance of teaching these techniques to the young infantr ymen.

Because of the Global Response Force mission, those paratroopers may be called upon to safely extract American citizens from danger areas, said Thompson.

The breacher’s train­ing gives the paratroopers the skill set to accomplish the mission as quickly and safely as possible, he added.

Some junior paratroop­ers expressed a similar sentiment of the value of the training.

The Red Falcons have been through breaching courses before but this training was more ben­eficial by having master breachers come out and teach it, making the paratroopers more profi­cient, said Spc. Matthew Hibbner, a 325th AIR infantr yman.