News: EOD hosts joint IED, terrorist training
Story by Cpl. Timothy Norris
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. - The Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Explosive Ordnance Disposal team hosted a unique class on improvised explosive devices and the terrorist mindset aboard the Air Station, March 17 – 21.
The class was taught from a terrorist perspective so participants can understand not only an IED and how it works but also the antagonists behind the device.
“The training is priceless; It is going to save lives,” said Michael Hockman, an A-T Solutions opposition IED network team leader and course instructor. “We want the warfighter to have a perspective of who the enemy is and how they operate before they meet on the battlefield.”
The class of more than 20 students included Marine EOD technicians from the Air Station, Air Force EOD Technicians from the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron aboard Joint Base Charleston S.C., members of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and members of the Special Response Team from the Air Station Provost Marshall’s Office.
The two week training focuses on two things. First, IED construction and employment so participants understand the components of an IED and recognize the building phase of a weapon and remove it from the battle. Second, what weapons the enemy has, how they employ them, what materials they use, the logistics of the battle space and strengths and weaknesses of an individual terrorist and the organization.
“An IED is not just a bomb that blows up,” Hockman said. “Terrorists use them to harass and distract to their advantage on the battlefield. We want our students to expand their reasoning, understand the enemy mindset and purpose of static employment of an IED.”
The course is based on a daily evaluation of IED trends around the world so that the material is as up-to-date as possible, which makes the course valuable to more than EOD technicians.
“We combined forces with EOD because it helps us understand and identify any type of explosive device that may be in a structure we have to go into,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Sumersett the PMO SRT commander. “We can also assist them is securing the perimeter and clearing the structure. It’s a good opportunity to strengthen our forces for the Air Station and Parris Island.”
At the end of the first week, their skills and knowledge were put to the test by dividing the students into two teams and pitting them against each other with their new IED knowledge.
The antagonist team set up a mock homemade explosives site with common materials and rigged the site with trigger systems that when activated set off a high pitched alarm signaling the detonation of an IED.
Later, a convoy patrolled a closed off route riddled with simulated IEDs the convoy had to identify before a siren sounded signifying a detonated IED and getting caught in a firefight.
“The take away is that we stay up to date on current trends and develop joint cohesion,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Mcleod, the Air Station EOD operations chief. “Everyone has their own process on how to do things. We wanted to pull everybody in and find out exactly what everybody brings to the table.”
“Overall they won,” he added. “They all gained knowledge on how an IED is used on the battle field.”
At the end of the day, the current information and understanding the terrorist mindset gave the participants an advantage that saves lives.