News: Soldiers train to become EOD leaders
Story by Staff Sgt. Antwaun Parrish
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Staff Sgt. Kevin Renuart embraces the upcoming challenge of being a team leader as well as the responsibilities, which come in tow.
To the five-year Army sergeant, it’s a big deal. Completing the certification training for explosive ordnance disposal team leader brings him one step closer to finalizing that goal.
Renuart’s eagerness was shared by the other 23 team leader prospects and 48 team members from across the U.S. training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Dec. 5-16.
The 3rd Ordanance Battalion hosted the 20th Support Command Team Leader Training Academy in order to provide prospective team leaders and team members with realistic scenario-based leader training in a controlled environment.
“I have been preparing at my unit for the past three years to become a team leader,” said Renuart, currently stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Each team leader received one tactical vehicle and one set of EOD tools to complete the scenarios.
“I am confident in my abilities as an EOD tech and don’t see anything as too difficult,” said Renuart.
Renuart expressed that his only concern was he would not be able to properly maneuver around the training sites because he is unfamiliar with the area.
EOD soldiers are expected to complete more than 50 critical tasks to become a team leader, but only 25 of those task sets were evaluated at JBLM while the rest are conducted at the unit level.
“Most of the training is done at unit level. We provide the more extensive portion,” said Maj. Benjamin Lipali, 3rd Ord. Bn. executive officer.
Lipali explained that the team leader academy has never been done before and it’s all come together with great support from 20th Support Command.
“I enjoy all of the training, especially the hand entry portion,” said Renuart, a native of Wilmington, N.C.
The hand entry portion required the tech to use his hands to dispose of the explosive instead of mechanical devices such as robots.
Staff Sgt. Derek Hayes, assigned to 22nd Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort), expressed that the scenarios are extremely tough.
“Although the problems are tough I look forward to the challenge,” said Hayes, a native of Redding, Calif. “I learn more when it’s more challenging.”
Regardless of the toughness during the scenarios, the team leaders are expected to make sound decisions for their teams.
Team leaders are sergeants and above, but the training academy also involves team members from various units, who will possibly return to the academy someday as a team leader candidate.
Hayes explained that team leaders have to have full confidence in their team and train them all to think alike for quick reaction. Spc. Shane Baker, stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., traveled to JBLM as a team member. He explained that this would be his first time working around unfamiliar techs.
“I will be able to get a different perspective of different ways to solve problems,” Baker said.
Baker explained that being afforded the opportunity to receive training at the academy will also give him a better idea of what a team leader needs when deployed.
The team leaders rely on the members being confident and understand every part of the scenarios.
“I am not worried about my ability; I see myself as an asset,”said Baker.
Once the training is complete the Soldier’s results from the academy will be sent to their home units to be included with the task sets conducted at unit level.