Engineers clear the way forward
June 23, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Combat engineers from the 4th Engineer Battalion conducted route-clearance patrol training on Fort Carson April 11-20 and May 31-June 12 in preparation for an upcoming deployment.
The 4th Eng. Bn. conducted its training in “crawl, walk and run phases” with the intent of fully training the Soldiers to identify and react to possible threats they could encounter in combat while clearing routes.
“This is probably one of the best train-ups I’ve had with any unit,” said Sgt. Andrew Perr, team leader assigned to 576th Mobility Augmentation Company, 4th Eng. Bn.
The morning began with a mission brief explaining what the Soldiers should expect during the training and what was expected of the Soldiers.
The smooth came to an abrupt end when the convoy lumbered onto the dusty road that led to the training area.
Upon reaching the entrance to the route clearance patrol lane, the convoy took a few minutes to make last-minute adjustments while some enjoyed a break before the arduous journey through the mock danger-infested route began.
Once the lane was ready to accept the convoy into its teeth, the observer controller charged with overseeing the convoy from an unbiased perspective gave the signal for the convoy to conduct its patrol.
The convoy was led by a Husky, a vehicle-mounted mine detection and proofing system used by the engineers to find, interrogate and mark metallic explosive hazards.
The Husky crawled along at a pace of 5 mph while the rest of the convoy kept a vigilant eye for signs of possible threats along the route. The Husky crew is charged with the daunting task of discovering any improvised explosive devices.
“It’s a bad feeling when something blows up behind you,” said Spc. Justin Dalenko, Husky operator with the 62nd Sapper Company, 4th Eng. Bn., during an April 12 route-clearance patrol.
After interrogating a possible IED the convoy received fire from the opposition forces playing the role of insurgents who hid behind rocks and trees and tried to coax the convoy into a firefight.
The opposition used the terrain to its advantage during engagements as well as simulated IEDs and other mock explosives to keep the convoy on its toes at all times.
The IED simulators are composed of an initial charge from a 2-ounce CO2 cartridge and a primary charge from a 6-ounce cartridge that blows baby powder out of the device to simulate a blast radius, said Sgt. Chad Free, 569th Mobility Augmentation Company, 4th Eng. Bn.
“This training is basically one of the best trainings we can get with the equipment that we have,” said Perr. “It’s outstanding that this battalion gathered up this equipment on short notice and prepared us for (our) route clearance (mission).”