News: US, KSF soldiers conduct annual EOD training
Story by Sgt. Samantha Stoffregen
FERIZAJ, Kosovo – Explosive ordnance disposal soldiers with Multinational Battle Group-East conducted annual training with Kosovo Security Force soldiers at the KSF training facility in Ferizaj, Sept. 30 - Oct. 3.
“This [training] is just to reiterate and confirm the knowledge that they have and to ensure that they are still operating safely,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Whitney, an EOD technician with the 62nd Ordnance Company out of Fort Carson, Colo., and a native of Orange, Mass.
The weeklong course began with two days of classroom instruction over safety and procedural actions followed by functioning and designs of fuses and ordnances.
“We teach them proper identification features and techniques for identifying the differences between projectiles and mortars and all the different types of ordnances that are out there,” Whitney said.
After the classroom portion, KSF soldiers attended a range where U.S. soldiers showed demolition effects and demolition procedures.
“We bring them down and show them basic setups for electric demolition and nonelectric demolition,” Whitney said. “We have them set them up safely per U.S. standards so they have a better idea of how we operate.”
Whitney said the majority of the KSF soldiers attending the training have previous experience as de-miners and have a fairly good knowledge about EOD.
The final day of training consisted of going over protective works or mitigation techniques to protect infrastructure and then showing the KSF techniques to use less explosive to detonate ordnance.
“We did three protection walls: igloo protection work, v-shape protection and a straight wall,” explained KSF Sgt. Fadil Bazaj, EOD team leader. “What we did was actually protect the walls from any fragments, prevent damage to building and protect structures.”
Bazaj said the training was a good refresher and would help them minimize damage to civilian property when they are responding to an explosive device that is too hazardous to transport for safe disposal.
“We have a great time with U.S. soldiers,” Bazaj said. “It’s high level and with regards to training, everything was great.”
Whitney said the KSF are doing extremely well.
“They are very adaptive and willing to learn,” he said. “They’re coming along really well to be able to do their mission.”
Whitney added that refresher courses are not only good for the KSF soldiers, but also his soldiers.
“As an EOD tech, it’s always good to keep training and keep practicing our tools and techniques to ensure that we don’t forget simple procedures,” said Whitney.