About Fla. Base Set to Open New School on IEDs
|December 18th, 2005||#1|
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Fla. Base Set to Open New School on IEDs info
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - (AP) With more American soldiers
dying in Iraq and Afghanistan from hidden bombs, the military hopes a new
advanced explosives school will help troops to detect and disarm the deadly
The military showed off X-ray cameras, chemical sensors and advanced
robotics Friday, while the military's top bomb-disposal instructors
demonstrated some of the latest techniques in combating deadly improvised
The new Advanced Explosives Device Disposal School at Eglin Air
Force Base officially opens next month. Explosives experts from all military
branches will attend the specialized training.
Because many of the instructors will return to combat soon, the
military required they be identified only by their service branch and
The school, which offers advanced training for leaders of explosives
disposal teams, is unique because it includes a replica of a town for
soldiers to go in and out of buildings and practice locating and disarming
bombs in realistic settings.
At the school's fake airport, a soldier in a 75-pound bomb disposal
suit used an upright motorized scooter to travel from an equipment van to
the building. Once inside, he used a portable X-ray camera to take a picture
of a bomb at a security check point. He wheeled back out, and conferred with
other team members about disarming the bomb. The X-ray picture quickly
provided a detailed view of the small canister and the wires contained
Soldiers said the airport is especially important because of
domestic terrorist threats. The realistic feel of the building helps
heighten his students' senses, an instructor said.
"We want there to be as much realism as we can give them," he said.
The airport's nonfunctioning baggage carousel has a sign warning
parents not to let children climb on its belts. The ticket counter includes
a Delta Air Lines flight departure board. There are even directions posted
to ground transportation.
The town also includes a bank, a school, a newspaper office, a
farmhouse and a gas station.
An Army sergeant using a robot to remove a backpack from a library
table, said the authentic feel of the training buildings is especially
"The hardest thing when you get out there in the world, is
everything around you," he said. "The biggest problem at an incident site
isn't the device, we know how to deal with that, it's everything else."
The library includes shelves of books, reading tables and a checkout
The sergeant said his bomb disposal missions in Iraq often involved
situations like the one acted out at the library on Friday. In Iraq,
removing bombs without damaging buildings was just as important as saving
lives because damage could also constitute a victory for terrorists, he
A second team member communicated with the soldier in the library
from an equipment van outside and looked at pictures transmitted by the
robot. In a real situation, the team could have disarmed without having to
go inside the building.
"We always prefer to use robots first because we can protect lives,"
one team member said.
The nine instructors at the school include three from the Army,
three from the Air Force, two from the Navy and one Marine. Each class lasts
three weeks. Navy Lt. Dave Blauser, the officer in charge of the school,
said his instructors are among the most highly trained bomb technicians in
As the number of troops killed by IEDs climbs, the military's Joint
IED Taskforce, which includes the school, is constantly looking at ways the
counter the threat by training how to detect and avoid the devices, Blauser
Despite the advances, average soldiers on the ground in Iraq can do
little to avoid the devices, said a Navy petty officer who is an instructor
at the school.
"We are trying to keep people alive here and trying to mitigate all
of the dying," he said.
|December 18th, 2005||#3|
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My fervent hope is that training will be stringent, accurate, realistic and above all - cover enough of the possible types of IED to give our troops another survival tool to ensure they will come home instead of inadvertently setting off another "killer" bomb/device.
|December 19th, 2005||#5|
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