By Staff Sgt. Karen PersonJune 16, 2011
BOGOR, Indonesia " Improvised explosive devices are one of the most dangerous weapons Soldiers encounter during missions around the globe. Seasoned U.S. Soldiers are teaching Indonesian Soldiers to face that danger on their own terms, June 13.
Counter IED training is the primary focus of the field training exercise portion of Garuda Shield, an annual, U.S. Army, Pacific, bilateral exercise that actively promotes regional stability and security operations while further strengthening relations between U.S. and Indonesia Armed Forces.
Leading the FTX effort is USARPAC’s Asia Pacific C-IED Fusion Center, a unit that provides training programs and intelligence products to enhance survivability for service members from the U.S. and partner nations.
This is the first year the two-week, C-IED training has been incorporated into Exercise Garuda Shield, directly contributing to the tactical capacity of the more than 200 Indonesian participants.
According the Sgt. Maj. Cy Ross, FTX officer in charge and sergeant major of the Asia Pacific Counter IED Fusion Center, the FTX is designed to enable Soldiers to identify and defeat IEDs.
“We want them to learn to be proactive when encountering IEDs. Having that skill will inevitably save their lives,” said Ross.
Of the Indonesian Soldiers being trained, nearly half are from the 502nd Airborne Infantry Battalion, a unit that’s scheduled to deploy to Lebanon in support of United Nations peacekeeping missions.
“Some of these Soldiers have never had this type of training before,” said Ross. “That’s why it’s so important; it prepares them for the upcoming mission and gives them the confidence to react when necessary.”
For the Indonesian Soldiers, the training is invaluable.
“This training is a positive experience for our Soldiers,” said 2nd Lt. Hendis Asies, platoon commander, 328th Airborne Infantry Battalion, Indonesian Armed Forces. “We are learning about personnel, vehicle and area searches -- knowledge we need to prepare for our mission in Lebanon.”
During the first week of training, the U.S. Soldiers instructed platoon and squad leaders of the Indonesian Armed Forces in a classroom environment.
This train-the-trainer technique allows the Indonesian leaders to train their own Soldiers on the lessons learned in the subsequent week of training.
“We basically give them the tools and information to move forward, and let them impart that knowledge to their troops,” said Sgt. James Williams, a FTX instructor from the 15th Explosive Hazard Team at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Williams, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran with extensive experience in route clearance, explained the Indonesian service members came to the exercise with a great foundation for the training, but his team is able to show them extra techniques to further increase their combat capabilities.
“We are teaching them in gradual steps,” said Ross. “Each step gets harder and harder so they are able to identify and react to potential threats more quickly. Each day these guys are getting better and better.”