News: Soldiers blown away by IED simulator training
Story by Sgt. Jarred Woods
FORT BLISS, Texas - Improvised explosive devices, the enemy’s main stand-off weapon, are the terrorists’ most infamous capability and as such will continue to be a key focal point in military training.
Although it would be impractical to use actual IED’s during combat exercises, several types of IED effects simulators have been developed to mimic the sight and sound without the devastating effects of the real deal. The Counter IED Integration Cell at Tobin Wells training area here taught 1st Armored Division Soldiers how to set up and operate these simulators June 19.
This essential training simulates multiple applications of IED’s such as suicide bomber vests, pressure plate or command wire, and radio-controlled IED’s, said Sgt. 1st Class Benjamine Nordholm, a senior trainer at CI2C. The actual effects of the IEDES are simulated by a combination of carbon dioxide and baby powder and an array of different pyrotechnic devices.
For Soldiers who operate as the opposition force in combat exercises, the training received at CI2C gives them the chance to portray realistic battlefield situations.
“This training is pretty important,” said Nordholm. “These are the only effects simulator kits that we have on Fort Bliss. If they don’t receive this training on the IEDES here, they really don’t have a way to replicate IED effects out in the field other than throwing a pyrotechnic device, such as a grenade simulator. Yet by throwing a grenade simulator, people are going to see it come in and land or it’ll detonate, but then there’s nothing left for them to exploit.
“With an IEDES kit, you can bury it. Once it detonates, you can actually have the opportunity for explosive ordnance disposal to come in an exploit the site and find the pressure plate. Also, if they find the IED in advance; say they notice an ant trail or some ground disturbance, if they have the capability to send a robot forward and investigate, they can actually find a wire or a pressure plate. It gives them a more realistic opportunity to investigate an IED situation.”
The Soldier’s first application of the training from CI2C will be during Operation Iron Focus, a large, multi-unit training exercise scheduled to commence in July.
“I’m going to be running the exercise’s command cell for our enabler lane during Iron Focus,” said Sgt. 1st Class Peter Gordon, the senior military information support operations noncommissioned officer with the Operations Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. “We’re planning on using IED simulators a great deal on our lane. Now that I know exactly what these simulators are capable of doing, it’s going to help me plan how we’re going to engage the Soldiers with IED simulation and force them to work through those battle drills.”