News: Deployment training causes a boom at YTC
Story by Staff Sgt. Antwaun Parrish
YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. – Playing with fireworks in the streets of Newark, N.J., a young boy loved to light the wicks and hear the boom. Now as a soldier he gets to ignite detonating cord- resulting in a much louder boom.
“Making firecrackers blow up would always get my adrenaline pumping,” said Pvt. Isaiah Montalvo, who now works as a combat engineer.
Soldiers assigned to 22nd Engineer Clearing Company, 14th Combat Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade, conducted demolition training April 10 at YTC.
During the range the soldiers set up a ring main, which consists of blocks of C4 connected by detonation cord. Once all the explosives are tied together, soldiers set them off using a Modern Demolition Initiator. The training is used to reinforce safety precautions and build soldiers’ confidence.
Montalvo graduated from advanced individual training March 8, and inprocessed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., shortly after. He is preparing to deploy with the unit later this year to Afghanistan.
“I feel that I will be ready to support my unit when we deploy,” said Montalvo. “My leaders are teaching me everything I need to know.
Montalvo’s squad took their time when prepping the Composition C4 explosives. Their first sergeant walked over to the group to inspect their preparation methods and offered some sound advice to the soldiers.
“Make sure you tape the ends of the cords,” said 1st Sgt. Jeffery Goodman. He showed everyone that if they didn’t place the tape properly, the explosive powder would come out and cause the explosive to fail.
“We have to make sure that we have the appropriate knots for each of the charges and that the knots are properly attached to the C4,” said Montalvo.
Sgt. Andrew Evatt, combat engineer assigned to 22nd ECC, is Montalvo’s team leader and he feels that his Soldier will be confident and ready.
“We got Montalvo about a month ago,” said Evatt, a native of Seneca, S.C. “We have been training him to get up to speed with everyone else. I believe that after this range he’ll be more confident.”
Handling explosives can be a dangerous job, and Montalvo admits that although he feels prepared, he knows he still has a long way to go.
“I get nervous because I’m new and don’t want to hold anyone up,” said Montalvo.
Evatt has deployed to Afghanistan as a combat engineer, and he explained as his leaders prepared him, he’s doing the same for his Soldiers.
“Because of the training I wasn’t nervous,” said Evatt. “I felt like I was well trained and ready.”
Montalvo stated that demolition is what he looks forward to the training and that he wants to find and destroy as many roadside bombs as he can once he deploys.
“I have great team leaders that are showing me what to do,” said Montalvo. “They are making sure that I am on track with everything and preparing me the best way they can.”
Evatt expressed that this range will give Montalvo the best possible training needed to ensure his mission readiness.
“It will boost his demo morale,” said Evatt. “He’s going to be a lot better.”
Explosives used on a demolition range are way more intense than the firecrackers that Montalvo lit as a kid. With the training his leaders are providing him he gets the adrenaline rush he once knew, but on a much larger scale.