Iraqi soldiers graduate bomb school
September 8, 2009
BESMAYA, Iraq (Sept. 8, 2009) -- A single Iraqi solider wearing a red beret stood against the wall and began to sing. Soon the rest of the 34th Level IV graduating class of the Iraqi Army Bomb Disposal School joined in the IA warrior song in celebration after receiving their course certificates, Aug 26.
The Iraqi Army Bomb Disposal School was established in 2004 through partnership with Coalition forces. The school has partnered with Task Force Troy in training Iraqi Army soldiers to become bomb disposal technicians.
The school focuses on de-mining operations, ordnance identification, battle area clearance, basic demolition and improvised explosive device-defeat. The school house maintains and operates the only IA robot repair facility and since August 2006 has been run solely by Iraqis with coalition forces acting in an advisory role.
"The instructors are extremely good at what they do," Master Sgt. Christopher S. Ellette, senior enlisted advisor to the Iraqi Bomb Disposal School said. "All of the courses here are taught by Iraqis and two days a week the classes are student-led."
Since 2006 the cadre has trained more than 1,500 level III and 350 Level IV soldiers and police officers from the Ministry of Interior.
"We are very proud for our graduates," Iraqi Army Col. Jasim Mohammed Singy, commander, Iraqi Bomb Disposal School, said. "We are producing very experienced people today, and we are very proud."
The curriculum is composed of two course sets, Level III, the Basic Bomb Disposal course and Level IV, an IED-Defeat course.
The basic course runs for 12 weeks with three phases. In the first phase Iraqi soldiers learn about demolition, and in the second phase soldiers cover ordnance identification. In the third and final phase soldiers learn battlefield area clearance, booby-traps, explosive storage and safety, protective works, electric demolition and vehicle clearance.
"Expeditionary Ordnance Disposal is doing the same thing around the world," Ellette said. "The classes here are very similar to U.S.-taught EOD classes."
The IED-defeat course runs for seven weeks. Within the course time frame soldiers conduct IED tasks and learn IED components such as hook and line, timed devices and command devices. The soldiers learn to work in a bomb suit and cover forensics and post blast analysis. Projected weapons, vehicle clearance and robot operations are also a focus in the Level IV course.
"One of the especially exceptional aspects of the school is the robot repair facility," Col. Patrick J. Kelly, commander of Task Force Troy, said. "It is amazing what the school has done to maintain the equipment."
The robot repair facility, established in 2007, has repaired more than 130 robots working with a budget of more than $2 million.
"I have seen a robot come in here mangled and within three hours that robot rolled out of here," Ellette said.
With the war on terrorism constantly changing and technology increasing, the Bomb Disposal School is also looking toward the future.
"Iraqi Security Forces are currently at war with terrorists and their main weapons are IEDs," Singy said. "It is Iraq's responsibility to defeat terrorists. We would like to continue our relationship with TF Troy and build on our partnership through cooperation, experience and training."