News: Ground Torch System training for engineers
Story by Sgt. Tracy Knowles
BAGHDAD — In order to enhance route sanitation capabilities, five Soldiers of the 1192nd Engineer Company, 101st Eng. Battalion, finished up a week-long training event on the Ground Torch System, Dec. 20, here, on Camp Liberty.
The GTS is a trailer mounted flame throwing system used when mechanical means clearing vegetation are difficult, such as clearing canals or steep slopes.
The training began with proper operation of the components and controls, including how to execute preventive maintenance checks and services. It then transitioned to mission specific tactics, techniques and procedures.
"This is something very new to me; any operational training I have had with the Army has already been set up," said Sgt. Carl Compton, of Portsmouth, Ohio. "We started from the ground up with this operation and have been very hands on; everything from operating the equipment and writing [standard operating procedures] to planning and implementing battle drills."
First Lt. Benjamin Smith, of Mashpee, Mass., developed a training plan that best prepared the Soldiers for future route sanitation missions.
"In order to execute a 'controlled burn' during a convoy or route sanitation mission, competency on equipment and burn procedures must be established," said Smith. "The best way to incorporate a new skill is to learn it, do it, conduct an after action review of the exercise and then do it again."
The concept of the operation was developed through field training exercises and rehearsals which prepare the Soldiers for real world missions; keeping their situational awareness a top priority.
Additionally, the Soldiers practiced fire drills, escape routes, safety zones and key communication guidelines, to include hand and arms signals.
"As engineers, we will lead the way for developing the process for safely deploying and operating the GTS," said Sgt. Zach Caudill, of Plymouth, Ohio.
Days of pouring water on each other and putting out pretend fires prepared the Soldiers to move directly into reaction mode, should something happen.
"We always watch, always stay diligent. We are always watching the wind so we know what the fire is doing," said Spc. Heather Todd, of Lisbon, Ohio.
Todd and the other Soldiers worked under close supervision performing more than a dozen dry runs. After a week of instruction, the Soldiers validated their training with a live-fire exercise.
The Soldiers are now trained on a piece of equipment that can provide a safe passage on the streets of Iraq for U.S. Soldiers.