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Advanced IED defeat course, battle drills help save lives

Printer Friendly VersionPrinter Friendly VersionSend to a FriendSend to a FriendAll Soldiers are trained on various convoy operations before they deploy, even if they never step into an armored vehicle during their deployment. Here at Camp Adder though, some Soldiers continue to hone their skills because it can save their lives. "We're doing convoy lanes training," said Sgt 1st Class Robert Moore with the 121st Brigade Support Battalion. "It involves everything we would do in a convoy." The battle drills include summoning medical evacuations, reacting to improvised explosive devices and vehicle recovery. "We have to make sure we can get from point 'A' to point 'B,'" said 1st Lt. Jennifer Beatty, the convoy commander of "G" Platoon. Beatty's job is twofold. Not only must she take command of a convoy of armored vehicles crossing Iraq, but she also has to make sure her Soldiers are up to speed on their weapons and equipment. While everyone has a duty to perform, Beatty gets all of her Soldiers trained in every job they may encounter during the convoy. "I make sure the Soldiers are cross-trained in special tasks and teams," she said. If one person goes down, someone else might need to take charge, whether it is as a gunner, driver or medic. Currently, "G" Platoon is practicing IED defeat, in which the Soldiers must react to roadside bombs. As they drove through the training area their eyes watched for any signs of possible explosives. Spotting a fluttering bag on the side of the road weighted down, with wires sticking out, the convoy stopped and called up a nine-line request to address possible unexploded ordinance. Unfortunately for them, just because they saw it did not mean they would get out of the training to react to a disabled vehicle. As they passed by, a small explosion went off near one of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tor Hvidsten, an explosive ordinance disposal specialist with the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, and his team set up the explosives, placing a primary and secondary explosive to best mimic the attacks from insurgents. "This way, they can feel the blast and react properly," Hvidsten said. While not large enough to injure the Soldiers in the vehicles, it can be felt and heard by everyone. "The explosive simulates the real thing," Moore said. "It gives off smoke and light and can disorientate you." After the explosion, the convoy came upon Moore "wounded" and the MRAP disabled. Moving quickly, the various teams set to work. Some pulled security around the convoy; others rescued Moore from the vehicle and strapped him to a stretcher so they could carry him to their medical vehicle. Once the wounded were secured, the tow bar was connected to the "damaged" vehicle and the platoon was ready to move again. "I love this training," Beatty said. "It gives us an idea what to work on and what to sustain."