CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - Explosive ordnance disposal Soldiers from Multinational Battle Group-East and security officers from the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo Close Protection Force worked together to teach and learn inspection techniques during a daylong training event Aug. 31, 2015, on Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo.
The U.S. Army EOD technicians from the Alabama National Guard's 666th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company out of Jacksonville, Alabama, spent the day instructing members of EULEX's CPF on vehicle and building search best-practices, in order to help CPF members consider ways to expand their approach to explosive device searches.
The course began with a class on improvised explosive device awareness, reminding the attendees be aware of various forms of IEDs and the ways they can be hidden from plain sight, as well as procedures for reporting IED threats.
"Today we taught multiple blocks of instruction that covered the different types of explosive devices that could be encountered while clearing a building or room," said Sgt. Samantha Cooper, an EOD technician with the 666th.
"What we wanted to do was teach the CPF members how to create search and clearing methods that would work best for their teams," Cooper said.
The CPF members who attended the training are not EOD technicians, but security officers who may use this additional training in order to safely handle potentially explosive situations. The training continued to build off previous courses held by the 666th U.S. EOD predecessors serving in Kosovo.
"This type of training is useful in conditioning our mindset on what to look for when conducting searches like this," said Thomas Bauer, a training coordinator for the EULEX CPF.
"It is good practice to do this training often as possible in order to continue sharpening these useful skills," he said.
"The plan for the training was to not re-teach the EULEX on what was taught earlier, but to present new ideas that each individual could take away as a learning tool," Cooper said. "Since those that attended come from different law enforcement and military backgrounds, they all have something new to add to the table on prior experiences."
"Having the refresher training, and still being able to get something valuable out of it, could be what saves a person's life," she said.
The class concluded with a section on tactical site exploitation, where EOD technicians or law enforcement investigators survey a site for detonated material and attempt to decipher the explosion's details and background.
"This EOD team is very proactive in sharing their knowledge about explosive ordnance," said Maj. Joel Pierce, senior engineer for the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team and MNBG-E headquarters. "This is a good attribute for them to have for strengthening the alliance with EULEX."
Creating partnerships and building alliances are core elements to helping multinational forces work together in order to protect freedom of movement and maintain a safe and secure in environment in Kosovo.
"This type of training with our multinational partners, like the EULEX CPF and other armed forces, familiarizes them with how we operate and what we look for, so we can all help each other while conducting missions in Kosovo," Cooper said.