COB BASRA, Iraq - Soldiers from the 663rd Ordnance Company (EOD) recently conducted training and a joint demolition operation with the 1st Bomb Disposal Company, 14th Iraqi Army Division at the Shaiba Training Center in Basra, Iraq.
First Lt. James Hawthorne, a platoon leader with 663rd Ordnance, based at Fort Carson, Colo., and native of Mars, Pa., and Lt. Col. Abdul Adeem, 1st BDC, 14th IA Div. company commander, met to discuss the training schedule and conduct a joint demolition operation, disposing of one thousand pounds of ordnance.
"The Iraqi bomb disposal companies play a vital role in the final disposition of ordnance recovered from the 14th Iraqi Army Division," Hawthorne said.
Abdul Adeem said he has executed multiple area clearance operations along the Shalamche port of entry, which separates Iran and Iraq. Years of war between the two countries have left stretches of desert littered with unexploded ordnance.
"Our Soldiers have been trained to properly disarm and dispose of live explosives," said Abdul Adeem. "We have several area clearance missions ongoing near the Shalamche border and Al Faw areas."
Staff Sgt. Stephen Durling, a team leader with 663rd Ordnance and native of Virginia Beach, Va., instructed members of the Iraqi BDC on ordnance classification and identification, at the request of Adeem.
Once the classroom portion was completed, Iraqi BDC Soldiers began loading the munitions on the truck to take to the designated disposal range.
U.S. EOD personnel at the site said that the Iraqi BDC Soldiers are technically proficient at demolition operations.
"These Iraqi bomb disposal companies are contributing to the overall mitigation of explosive hazards in Basra Province, which consequently is paving the way for a safer Iraq," said Hawthorne.