VICENZA, Italy - Paratroopers from the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) hosted partners from the Bulgarian army for pre-deployment engineering and military intelligence training at Caserma Del Din, Sept. 9 – 13.
The training was for Explosive Ordinance Disposal and combat engineers platoon leaders from the Bulgarian Land Forces, which focused on counter-Improvised Explosive Device warfare and intelligent site exploitation.
The training combining classroom and practical application, said Staff Sgt. Nicholas B. Hudson, a combat engineer with Company A, 173rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. The Bulgarian soldiers were presented with brigade and enemy tactics, techniques and procedures as well as lessons learned from the deployment. The following day, that training was put it into practice with IED lane training.
The engineers of Company A are well-suited to provide pre-deployment training to American allies, as they were recognized as the best route clearance company in Afghanistan during their last deployment– with a 96 percent find rate.
“They are good teachers and explained everything,” said Bulgarian army Sgt. Valentin Ivanov.
Following engineer training, BSTB paratroopers taught the visiting soldiers basic military intelligence techniques that were going to be applicable to their upcoming deployment.
“We trained the Bulgarians on basic site exploitation - specifically evidence collection, biometrics, tactical questioning, the Afghan judicial process and [Company Intelligence Support Team operations,] said 1st Lt. Bethany D. Bashor, a military intelligence officer and the BSTB adjutant.
That specific training provides combat engineers and EOD teams, both on the forefront of counter-IED warfare, to be able to properly secure a site in order to provide investigation teams the ability to track down the IED maker.
“The training focused on the importance of proper evidence collection to ensure that insurgents could be found, arrested and prosecuted through Afghan law [and] removed from the battlefield,” said Bashor.
“It was different kind of training and I learned many new things,” said Bulgarian army Lt. Stoyan Tepavicharov.
Both the US and Bulgaria have training agreements allowing units to train with each other and access to partnership resources.
“The training went well,” said Bashor. “We tried to tailor our training” to prepare them for whatever the mission might have in store for them.