News: Engineers acquire needed skills, prepare for new mission
Story by Sgt. Quentin Johnson
FORT HOOD, Texas – Combat engineers with Company B, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion “Spartans,” 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, took to the field to learn firsthand the importance of using handheld detection devices here May 1.
The handful of engineers familiarized themselves with and qualified on two pieces of mine detecting equipment – the Vallon MINEHOUND and CEIA CMD, ensuring proper use in their future assignments, said Staff Sgt. Michael Davis, Company B platoon sergeant.
“The CEIA is a metal detector, while the Vallon has ground penetrating radar abilities, because not all threats are made of metal,” he said.
Both devices have different uses, but when working simultaneously, they effectively enhance a team’s ability to detect threats early, said Davis, a Chicago native.
All engineers in the training will be assigned to a route clearance team for future deployments, a position that could lead to encounters with multiple explosive threats, he said.
Using more than 10 years experience as a combat engineer, including four combat tours, Davis said it is vital for teams to trust their equipment.
“Threats are more commonly found off the road where the land can be overgrown,” Davis added. “One can be blind in the field, and this equipment will save your life.”
As all engineers in the class were new to the military, Davis’ knowledge of the equipment was immeasurable, said Pfc. Sean Fogle from Abilene, Texas, and a Spartan combat engineer.
“(Davis) uses real-life lessons to help instruct us,” Fogle explained. “It definitely helps gain insight on the importance of using this equipment and all its capabilities.”
Working as a team was also beneficial, he added.
“Two sets of eyes are better than one,” Fogle said. “As we learn how to use the equipment, we can help keep each other on track, especially when it involves set up and procedures.”
Overall, Fogle said he was pleased with the training and confident the equipment can save his life when performing future route clearance missions.