By Andrea Sutherland, Fort CarsonSeptember 10, 2012
FORT CARSON, Colo. (Sept. 10, 2012) -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers met their civilian counterparts for four days of workshops and training lanes, Aug. 27-30, during the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators regional conference, here.
"It's a big pow-wow," said Capt. Austin Beaty, assistant operations officer, 242nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or EOD, Battalion, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD). "This (event) is a sharing of information and ideas."
Beaty said 30 Soldiers and 30 civilian police officers and bomb technicians attended the two-day conference in Colorado Springs and the subsequent two-day training at Fort Carson.
"I think it's excellent," said Jay Parker, explosive technician, Pitkin County Sherriff's Department in Aspen. "(The Soldiers) will be our future law enforcements. Getting us working together is an excellent idea. They think one way (while) we think another. We're all in the same community together."
Soldiers and civilians shared leadership responsibilities, each teaching workshops and leading training in their respective fields. Workshops included briefs on software capabilities, X-ray interpretation, ordnance recognition, improvised tools and briefs on current trends, both domestic and abroad.
"The great thing about this is they can see our capabilities," said Master Sgt. Jason Gerber, operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge, 242nd EOD. "This instills confidence. Meeting face-to-face helps build that relationship."
"It's been first class," said Jim McBrierty, assistant international director, International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, or IABTI. "It's been an absolutely fascinating show. Bringing together law enforcement and local military and establishing those common minimum standards so they can work together, it's been a great opportunity to bring the two sides together."
A worldwide organization, the IABTI has held international conferences for 40 years, McBrierty said. August's regional conference marked the second time the event was held at Fort Carson.
"It's always nice to collaborate," said Staff Sgt. Michael Podemski, 749th Ordnance Company, 242nd EOD. "We need to be able to work with them and vice versa."
Whenever civilian departments discover military ordnance, the Army must handle and dispose of it, Beaty said.
"Collaboration is key," said Sgt. Jared Carrington, 749th Ord. "(The conference) helped build good rapport and cross train."
On ranges 121 and 141, integrated teams of civilians and Soldiers completed eight training lanes that depicted both stateside and overseas scenarios including ordnance identification, diagnostics and precision shot.
In one scenario, dubbed "hand entry," the team had to disarm a bomb rigged to a hostage holding a detonator switch.
Michelle Tye, a police officer with the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, partnered with Joe Tenant, a bomb technician from Denver Police Department, and Staff Sgt. Scott Cotner, 62nd Ord., 242nd EOD, for the scenario.
Tye and Tenant watched intently as Cotner worked, helping when needed.
"I learned so much right here," Tye said. "He was unbelievable."
"I could tell he knew what he was doing," Tenant said. "We know what we're doing, too, but he probably does this more than we do. This is great training. Learning how (Soldiers) teach it, train it -- it's fantastic."
Soldiers and civilians traded off throughout the training lanes, allowing each to take the leadership role when necessary.
"We get a lot of military ordnance," said Bill Betts, regional explosive unit coordinator for the Colorado Springs Police Department. "To have (the Soldiers) put on these classes and teach us what to do, it's great."