FORT POLK, La. - New York and Massachusetts Army National Guard Soldiers came together to diffuse explosive training scenarios this July as members of New York's 1108th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or EOD) joined with Massachusetts' 387th Ordnance Company to form a single company team at the Joint Readiness Training Center rotation at Fort Polk, La., July 9-30, 2016.The two EOD units trained side by side for months leading up to the JRTC rotation, explained Maj. David Dunphy, the 387th Ordnance Company Commander. The two elements learned how to operate the EOD bomb disposal vehicle known as the Panther as well as operate EOD robots prior to coming to JRTC."Its great to work with one of our sister units." Dunphy said. "They've been awesome and together they have been working hard to accomplish the missions."The JRTC allows Army units to conduct combat training in a realistic environment which features a well-trained opposing force, civilian role-players on the battlefield, high-tech systems which monitor the action and observer-controllers to evaluate unit actions.Part of that training experience includes improvised explosive devices (IEDs), roadside bombs and the occasional fake bomb threat to Task Force Hunter, the rotational force. The task force is comprised of more than 5,000 Soldiers from the New York Army National Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, along with supporting elements from across the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve.Sgt. Jason Grossman, an EOD specialist assigned to the 1108th, explains that embedding with infantry units is a great opportunity to teach combat forces how EOD works and have a better understanding how long it takes for the EOD to set up, deploy and retrieve their robots whenever units encounter an IED or roadside bomb.When a call for support comes in, EOD technicians deploy one of their bomb detonating robots from the Panther vehicle. Soldiers can operated the robot as it comes off the vehicle back door with a camera on its arm. This procedure helps minimize risk to Soldiers.Staff Sgt. Chris Liberty, an EOD specialist assigned to 387th, said he enjoyed the challenge of working through real issues like the hot and humid Louisiana weather that affects the robots."Heat and humidity affects the robots and fogs up the camera," Liberty said. "We are working through the issues and it gives great training for our controllers to see if the can manuever with little visibility.""It's great to see them having an understanding of how the BCT works and how to work with them." said Col. Michael Finer, commander of the 79th Troop Command, the 278th higher headquarters from Massachusetts. "Its good to see them having new experiences and they are adapting well.""It's been great working with the 387th EOD," Grossman said. "They are a bunch of great guys and I'm having a good time."Story by Capt. Amy Hanna, New York Army National Guard.