By Capt. James Cole, MND-B WIT Detachment CommanderOctober 13, 2009
Task Force Troy weapons intelligence teams have conducted more than 1400 missions alongside explosive ordnance disposal teams throughout Iraq since arriving in April; collecting evidence on pre- and post-blast improvised explosive device events. These IED events include of suicide vests, vehicle-borne IEDs, explosively-formed penetrators, magnetically attached IEDs, indirect fire and weapon caches.
The weapons intelligence team members come from many backgrounds: EOD, intelligence, combat arms, photography, and law enforcement. They are joint service teams made up of Air Force, Army, and Navy service members.
These Servicemembers first stop in Texas to complete Combat Skills Training. This training prepares them for "outside-the-wire" battlefield operations. From there, they moved on to Arizona where they learn and hone their skills in Sensitive Site Exploitation, evidence collection and documentation, fingerprinting, tracking, and improvised explosive device composition and operation.
Tech. Sgt. Scott Petrie, Beacon, N.Y., a weapons intelligence teams team leader and a 13-year EOD technician with five deployments under his belt, he has learned a great deal from the weapons intelligence teams' mission.
"The weapons intelligence team mission has been challenging from an EOD perspective," Petrie said. "I now approach IEDs from a different angle, trying to gather valuable evidence, not just neutralizing the threat. When you are dealing with something like the counter-IED fight, you also have to look at it from multiple perspectives."
Petrie explained if a Soldier gets tunnel vision and only sees it from one angle, they are likely to miss something, possibly a key piece of information that could break the case wide open.
"This unique experience has made the weapons intelligence team tour a memorable experience and directly contributed the global war on terror," Petrie said.
When the weapons intelligence team's experts first arrive to exploit an IED post blast, the scene is immediately detailed by photographing the area.
The understanding of the scene and its surroundings in its original post-blast state is crucial to maintaining the purity of evidence. After the scene is photographed, the forensic evidence is collected, bagged, and labeled to ensure the forensic integrity is protected and chain of custody is maintained at all times. Finally, an intelligence report is generated providing insight and details of the case.
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