By Pfc. Zoe GarbarinoJanuary 29, 2018
FORT POLK, La. - As a Soldier in the Army, Spc. Christian Klinefelter, an explosive ordnance disposal specialist from 5th Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, was excelling in his career - even looking forward to competing for the title of Soldier of the Quarter.
Now that he is in the 1st SFAB, he is looking forward to working alongside members of his team as they advise partner nations on their first deployment as the Army's first SFAB.
The 1st SFAB is a new formation specially trained and built to enable combatant commanders to accomplish theater security objectives by training, advising, assisting, accompanying and enabling allied and partnered indigenous security forces.
"I joined [1st SFAB] so I could get deployed," Klinefelter said. "I have been to the [National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California] four times, but have never had the opportunity to deploy. When I joined the 1st SFAB in December, they were already getting ready so I came at a great time."
EOD specialists, who hold the military occupational specialty code of 89D, provide support to unified land operations by detecting, identifying, conducting on-site evaluation, rendering safe, exploiting and achieving final disposition of all explosive ordnance.
"At conventional units, EODs aren't always needed so we conduct a lot of training to maintain our knowledge," said Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Brown, EOD specialist from 2nd Battalion, 1st SFAB. "In my old unit, there was an exercise in which we used rope and pulleys to attach a fake improvised explosive device then had to figure out how to get it out of the room."
Spc. John Ellis, an EOD specialist from 5th Bn., 1st SFAB, said that being part of 1st SFAB, he now has more career advancement opportunities like going to different schools that may not be available to conventional EOD units.
"As soon as I joined, I started training right away," Ellis said. "I've completed a medical course and soon I will complete a MaxxPro [Mine-Resistant, Ambush Protected] course and the military advisor training academy course."
EOD specialists who joined 1st SFAB trained at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana Jan. 8-26, to prepare for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in the spring of 2018.
"When we deploy, we will advise our foreign partners on turning in evidence and trying to help them learn how to use their equipment or how to maintain their equipment better," Ellis said. "We will also establish training plans with the [Afghan National Army]. If they get called out on a mission, they would let us know their plan of action and if need be, we can assist or maybe suggest other alternatives."
The EOD specialists are ready and able to do their mission alongside their team overseas and especially anticipate a great experience with their new unit.
"I'm looking forward to doing my job at a greater level," Klinefelter said. "This deployment with 1st SFAB will give me the real-world experience I've been looking for and I get to put my knowledge to good use."
Soldiers interested in joining a Security Force Assistance Brigade should contact their branch manager or visit http://armyreenlistment.com/sfab.html for more information.