News: Alabama Army Guard unit participates in Operation Tropical Challenge in Puerto Rico
FORT MCCLELLAN, Ala. - An explosive ordnance disposal group from the Alabama Army National Guard recently conducted realistic training at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, a National Guard training site, and held the first ever Team Leader Training Academy (TLTA).
The 111th OD Group (EOD), commanded by Col. Rita Casey, has conducted several multi-state, multi-echelon, training events from the mid 90’s until now.
In 2005, the 111th trained at Fort McClellan. That exercise included exchange soldiers from Romania in addition to American National Guard troops from other states.
In 2006, Raven's Challenge was held in the state of Washington, hosted by the 741st EOD in WA (hosted by the 741st OD BN (EOD), which consists of the 217th OD CO (EOD), 319th OD CO (EOD), 362nd OD CO (EOD) and the 363rd OD CO (EOD).
The year 2007, saw Empire Challenge, hosted by the 501st OD BN (EOD) consisting of the 1108th OD CO (EOD), 387th OD CO (EOD), 430th OD CO (EOD), 753rd OD CO (EOD) and the 745th OD CO (EOD).
In 2008 the entire EOD contingent returned to Fort McClellan, to participate in Operation Southern Conquest.
“We have a robust EOD community,” said Casey. “The EOD community had been on a roll, but we spent 2009 through 2011 in pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment phases so this was the first time we pulled together again as a community. It was excellent training and the Leader Training really deepened our bench strength.”
The 111th mission this year was to conduct exercise TY 12 (Tropical Challenge), from July 21 to Aug 4, at Camp Santiago, PR, to provide elements an opportunity to conduct Team Leader Certification (TLC) tasks as well as Army Warrior Tasks (AWT) and Battle Drills to prepare them for future operational commitments.
The 111th assumed command and control of the ARNG EOD units and worked to provide the Army with relevant combat ready units by simultaneously conducting training at Group and Battalion level to help maximize time and resources. This consisted of providing realistic scenarios to determine if a Soldier is ready to take the step from EOD team member to EOD team leader while providing competent and confident leadership.
This training was pushed down to the lowest level. The concept of operations was to assist stand-alone companies with help in executing the Team Leader Certification Program (TLCP) to increase unit capabilities and readiness.
This consisted of providing realistic training to enhance soldier survivability. The exercise was conducted in four phases:
Phase I was devoted to ensuring that individuals/units/equipment were prepared to deploy to the training event.
This consisted of units having approved AT plans to support the event; to include any funding/supply issues, and that their state coordinates requirements with the training site; Soldiers have been medically screened/cleared for training; Soldiers have been issued all required field equipment/PPE; CLS bags are properly stocked and up to date as well as Soldiers expecting to drive vehicles (HMMWV, 2-1/2 and 5-ton cargo, bus,) were properly trained and licensed prior to deployment.
Phase Two consisted of Deployment/RSOI. It commenced upon arrival of unit advanced personnel and concluded when the last element arrived and completed RSOI at the training site.
Phase Three was the actual exercise which began when last element arrived at the training site.
Phase Four was the recovery and redeployment of all troops and assets. This Phase consisted of inventory, accountability, maintenance of all unit/individual equipment and preparation for redeployment. This phase ended when all elements returned to Home Stations and submitted a closure report to their parent EOD BN and HS command.
This was a comprehensive training exercise in which each element played a vital part in planning, conducting and executing the mission to set standards. Each element conducted a mission analysis of their assigned training tasks and develops a thorough risk assessment.
The tasks included, planning disposal operations and construction of protective works as well as conducting intelligence operations. It also included develop EOD training scenarios based on Team Leader tasks which included vital training such as conducting Post Blast Analysis and performing EOD Procedures for Improvised Explosive Devices.
“From my foxhole the training was phenomenal,” said Col. Casey. “I could not have asked for more professional subject matter experts serving as evaluators on their lanes.”
Date Posted:08.10.2012 18:04
Location:FORT MCCLELLAN, AL, US
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