News: US, Kyrgyz exchange critical EOD techniques
Story by Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez
MANAS, Kyrgyzstan - Service members from the 376th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight recently held a training exchange here, with Kyrgyz Republic Army EOD specialists.
"We are conducting training today with our Kyrgyz EOD partners," said Master Sgt. Steve Hager, 376 ECES EOD flight chief, deployed from Minneapolis-St. Paul Joint Air Reserve Station, Minn. "The Kyrgyz Army has military EOD capability and we're working in unison to increase their local capabilities for remote render safe procedures."
The focus of the training was hook and line techniques; which is a method of using ropes, hooks and pulley's to remotely access, diagnose and disable improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance.
According to Col. Akylbek Asanov, Chief of Civil Engineering Department of Mine Obstacle Ground Control, Headquarters Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic, the exchange was crucial.
"Nowadays it has become common for people to make self-made explosive devices and it is important for us to learn and know how to dispose of those things." Asanov said. "That is why we are here, to learn."
During the exchange both U.S. and Kyrgyz service members learned different techniques from each other. Hager said it was helpful to see different methods of EOD procedures.
"For us, some of the more interesting things we see when we work with international partners is simply a different way of working a problem," said Hager, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. "The more exposure we get opens up our proverbial playbook and gives us more options when we're working EOD incidents."
Although these critical exchanges continue, they will come to an end as the Transit Center comes to a close.
"This type of exchange is important because it allows us to build friendships with our host nation partners," Hager said. "We've been working with the Kyrgyz Army for 12 years now and it's nice to leave our partnership on a good note."