Fort Benning team teaches counter-IED tactics in Alaska
August 7, 2013
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska (Aug. 7, 2013) -- Improvised explosive devices, the No. 1 threat for coalition forces in Afghanistan, killed 104 U.S. troops and injured more than 1,700 in 2012. Soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, are building skills to detect and counter IEDs during a two-week, dismounted, counter-IED tactics master-trainer course, July 22-Aug. 2.
"We teach them to fight, win and survive in an IED environment," said retired 1st Sgt. Jon Hall, lead instructor for the DCTMT and Columbus resident.
The course teaches soldiers how to clear a route of possible IED threats using various equipment and methods of marking where they have cleared, allowing their fellow team members to stay within a designated safe zone.
Although the majority of Soldiers in the course are Infantrymen, Hall said they train all types of Soldiers, including X-ray technicians and petroleum supply specialists, so they can return to their unit and teach others what they have learned.
"I know a lot more than I did before I started the class," said Sgt. Ryan Roberts, a petroleum supply specialist and team leader with D Company, Brigade Support Battalion, 1-25 SBCT and Omak, Wash., native.
Roberts said it is important for people in support positions to train alongside combat-arms personnel to better prepare them for deployments.
"If for some reason we do get broken off from our convoy, we know how to do this," Roberts said.
To pass the course, Soldiers must score a minimum of 80 percent on three written tests, as well as demonstrate to the instructors that they can properly execute the methods they are taught and teach them to others.
Having Soldiers who are certified to train others in counter-IED tactics allows units to maintain a high level of readiness regardless of a continuing rotation of personnel.
"We need to be able to go back to our unit and teach Soldiers how to do this," said Roberts.
No matter where Soldiers are in the future it is likely IEDs will remain a threat, this training is designed to limit that threat and save lives.
"The things I've learned here, what I know now, would have saved people's lives (when I deployed)," Hall said.