FORT POLK, La. - Soldiers assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, prepped for their missions at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), here, through a series of pre-rotational classes.

The JRTC operations group offered the "Long Knives" a selection of classes focused on countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to ready the unit for hazards they could possibly face in combat.

Sgt. 1st Class Roger McIntire, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the IED Defeat Team, gave the troops an instructional class on how to identify the different types of homemade explosives and utilize this information to counter that hazardous threat.
"The counter-IED class is the corner stone of the whole pre-rotational training program," said McIntire, of Susanville, Calif. "We spend a lot of time and effort doing the research for the unit's theater of operations. We make sure (Soldiers) understand what the IED threat is, what they're going to be faced with when they get into country and how they can counter the threat."

Along with the instructional class, Soldiers got a hands-on exercise as they maneuvered the "PackBot FasTac" and "TalonIIIB" multi-mission robotic system that allow visual inspection and aid in the investigation of suspected roadside bombs.

"These systems provide maximum visibility, while minimizing the exposure to the Soldier in hazardous situations," said Capt. Kevin Sill, an engineer from Spartanburg, S.C., assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment. "This would be something my scouts and engineers could use on those long range patrols."

The troops are scheduled to continue pre-rotational classes throughout the week.