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Roles in the Corps: Combat Engineer

[Capt Michael Baliko]:
I'm a 1302 combat engineer officer. What that means is that I basically lead my Marines to blow things up well and to build 'em as well. There's three different areas of being a combat engineer officer. You can be in the wing, which is in support of aircraft and ensuring that runways are prepared properly. There's also the engineer support battalion, which is what I do. It's called ESB and also CEB, which is combat engineer battalion, which works specifically with Infantry and Division.

We use all types of demolition gear, so anything that helps us execute demolition missions. When I say that, you know, exploding things, blowing things up, blowing up obstacles, offensively striking the enemy if we have to. But primarily as engineer support battalion Marines, we're looking at mobility, so, freeing up that roadway if there are obstacles. We use demolitions to get rid of whatever obstacles or debris there are that impede the infantry or Marine forces from getting from Point A to Point B.

As an Engineer Officer, you're always setting the next mission as the highest priority. You're looking forward to prepare and plan as much as you possibly can, and then you're also executing. This past deployment, I was the convoy commander, so I'd lead the entire convoy of logistical vehicles and tactical vehicles from Point A to Point B, wherever it may be in Iraq. And as soon as that piece is over, as soon as the convoy's over, once my Marines hit the deck and we're at that location, I then lead to the actual mission, the mission commander, and take that seat where I lead all my Marines in executing the mission that we've transited out there to execute.