by Spc. Cynthia Teears
11th Public Affairs Detachment
NINEWA, Iraq (Dec. 10, 2008) — Looking at a field full of improvised explosive devises the Soldiers have evidence of their recent successes. This bomb disposal company for the Iraqi army is well trained and able to train other divisions.The IA Bomb Disposal Company was formed, Aug. 17, 2005, and participated in the four-month training given by civilian contractors in Basra, Iraq. During the training they learned level three and level four bomb disposal skills. Many of the Soldiers graduated, Feb. 1, 2006, and started working with Coalition forces.
Initially, the Iraqi soldiers worked alongside the Coalition forces watching how coalition forces handled the various situations. As the Iraqi soldiers obtained more experience they started working together assisting with hands-on training. Eventually the BDC Soldiers started doing the work on their own with the coalition forces watching and advising.
“We follow them out on missions with the Military Transition Team support,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Crocker, explosive ordinance device team leader for the Iraqi army, Bomb Disposal Company. “We actually observe them conducting missions and then give them on-the-spot corrections if and when necessary.”
Since October this BDC has been working on their own and has completed 54 missions without assistance from Coalition forces. The IA unit has the capability to do post-blast assessments and conduct them when necessary, Crocker said. The purpose of a post-blast assessment is to get a better picture of what happened, who caused the blast and how it was done.
This BDC has the training, the equipment and the personnel to get the job done right, said the IA lieutenant colonel and commander of the BDC. It is one of the best companies in the IA, because of the training they received in the streets from the Coalition forces, the on-the-job-training. They also feel very safe working in the streets because of the equipment and knowledge of how to use it.
“They are able to teach anyone who wants to learn and get the life experience they have,” said the BDC commander. During some of the BDC’s operations they have already been able to share what they learned from the Coalition forces with other divisions throughout the IA, said the BDC commander. The IA unit is able to teach safer ways to disarm explosives and how to use the additional equipment available.