Exploding into Chaos
‘Chaos’ soldiers, Company C, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, conducted Engineer Core Demolition Task Training at an explosives range outside of Contingency Operating Site Warrior, Iraq, Aug. 11.
The training allowed soldiers to maintain monthly certification requirements by using explosives to remove obstacles, destroy fortifications, and breach doors.
“The range validates the training through live demolitions,” said 1st Sgt. Harold Cole, Jr., senior enlisted soldier, Company C.
Although the company’s primary mission is conducting route clearance patrols, the training ensures soldiers remain proficient in engineer core training, designed for conventional war tasks.
The exercise is designed to ensure squads understand their roles as combat engineers, said Cole, a 21-year veteran from Dixon, Mo.
“They learn to pick different demo to cause different end states,” said Cole. “End states are like deciding which explosives to use in order to yield the effect that you want.”
Explosives used by the combat engineers, like C-4, can be used to “cut” through metal, force trees to fall in a desired direction, or clear mines.
“Even at his skill level, he should learn how to prime a charge and set up the firing systems,” said Cole, as he gestured toward Spc. Michael Chiumiento, a combat engineer with less than two years of service.
“We’re refreshing our skills with C-4,” said Chiumiento, who hails from Winthrop, Mass. “We learned this coming into the Army, but out here we really don’t use it. That’s why I like the range. We do our jobs.”
During the training, soldiers, including military police troops, practiced quick room entry, halting enemy vehicles, and destroying weapons using explosives.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st STB, 1st AATF, soldiers often use explosives training as a way to safely dispose of confiscated enemy weapons.
“Typically, after a case in Kirkuk is closed, we’re left with having to destroy the weapons used as evidence,” said Staff Sgt. Leo Guzman, an MP from Swannanoa, N.C., currently assigned to the 1st STB.
“I’m here to have them destroy some weapons, and these ranges make it easier on us,” said Guzman. “Attaching a block of C-4 to anything is a sure-fire way to destroy it.”
After moving a safe distance away from the explosives, Guzman and Chaos soldiers watched as Chiumiento, carrying the spool of detonation cord, handed it over to another soldier who rigged it to a detonator.
Pulling the detonator caused a huge explosion that sent weapons parts, burning wood splints and a thunderous, bright-orange fire-ball high into the air.
“If anyone wants to know why I became a combat engineer, that’s why,” screamed Chiumiento, in excitement.
Article by Staff Sgt. Robert DeDeaux, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force Public Affairs