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    Service Members receive potentially life-saving training at Phoenix Academy

    Service Members Receive Potentially Life-saving Training at Phoenix Academy

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Dilia Ayala | Army Capt. Daniel Grieve, 1st Armored Division Military Transition Team advisor and...... read more read more

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Improvised explosive devices are the leading cause of U.S. combat deaths and injuries in the Global War on Terrorism, in an effort to prevent these unnecessary deaths and injuries, service members are getting some potentially life-saving training here.

    Air Force Capt. Dane Bannach, electronic warfare officer and counter radio controlled IED instructor at the Phoenix Academy, is responsible for training service members to use, maintain and troubleshoot the Counter Radio-Controlled Electronic Warfare system.

    "My mission at the Phoenix Academy is to teach transition teams coming in," said Capt. Bannach. "The transition teams that come here go through an eight-day curriculum, CREW being one of those courses.

    Overall, the CREW system is a new generation jammer that has cut in half the number of remote controlled IED attacks in Iraq. The Phoenix Academy is a training installation within the greater Camp Taji Iraqi army training base here.

    "What our intentions are is to train them up so that they are completely operationally ready to work with these Iraqi units that they will actually be protecting as well as [themselves] with all the knowledge that they gain here," added Capt. Bannach, a 732nd Air Expeditionary Group Joint Expeditionary Tasking or JET Airman deployed from Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

    During the CREW system class, Capt. Bannach teaches students how to operate, maintain and troubleshoot the CREW system, specifically the vehicle mounted jammer, which will protect them against remote controlled IEDs.

    "It's important they know how to use them and know how to troubleshoot them," said Capt. Bannach, an Eden Prairie, Minn., native. "If they do run into problems, they can fix these problems on their own or at least know where to go to get answers. These systems will save their lives if they use them correctly and maintain them. Our job here at the Phoenix Academy, and my job specifically as an EWO and CREW specialist, is to ensure they know this and are armed with the knowledge to protect themselves."

    Students attending this counter-IED course are Soldiers and Marines who come through Camp Taji to work on the military transition teams in Iraq. One such student is Army Capt. Daniel Grieve, 1st Armored Division MTT advisor.

    "[As a transition team member], our primary mission is to advise the Iraqi leadership and to ensure they are doing things by their operational standards," said the captain, deployed from Fort Riley, Kan. "We are mentors to them. The ultimate goal of the transition team is to allow the Iraqis to be self-sufficient and to accomplish their own mission.

    "Learning these systems, having them on our vehicles, and being able to operate them, will help us with the Iraqis when we patrol with them," continued the Jacksonville, Fla., native. "When we go on patrols, it will protect the crew from any IED or any other type of remote-operated bomb. The system covers us, but it also [protects] the Iraqis who are with us."

    By and large, Capt. Bannach is thankful for the opportunity to teach transition team members and hopes students will take what they learn and apply it.

    "I've never done the instructor duty before; it's been a tremendous learning experience," he said. "I've been blessed to be put in such a situation. We are working with the people who will be working directly with them [Iraqi army]. We are training these people who are going to be putting themselves at the tip of the spear. I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that what I teach these transition teams is going to protect them out in the field."

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.14.2009
    Date Posted: 04.14.2009 11:51
    Story ID: 32373
    Location: TAJI, IQ 

    Web Views: 327
    Downloads: 170
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