ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, Kuwait --
Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense and U.S. explosive ordnance disposal teams joined forces for a controlled munitions detonation training designed to share knowledge in disposing of newly upgraded artillery rounds known as insensitive munitions. The new version of the round uses an upgraded shell casing and explosive charge that requires revised techniques for controlled detonations.
The training was designed by EOD technicians with the U.S. Army 744th Ordnance Company at Camp Buehring and included participation from technicians from the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron at Ali Al Salem Air Base and Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense EOD teams.
“The main purpose of the training was to demonstrate the proper procedures and techniques of insensitive munitions disposal to the Kuwaitis,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ryan, 744th Ordnance Company operations sergeant. “This has been our third time teaming up with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense since we have been in the country over the course of the last seven months.”
As part of the training, U.S. EOD technicians conducted classroom training at the Kuwaiti EOD compound and hands-on training at the Udari Range.
The classroom part of the training was devised by the 744th Ordnance Company to demonstrate procedures devised by the unit’s technical division, Ryan said.
The class covered the reasons for the artillery round upgrade, how the upgrades affect the construction of the new shell and how to safely detonate the munition by destroying the outer shell while also consuming the internal explosive charge, Ryan added.
Working with foreign military partners may cause a language barrier at times, but the challenge is mitigated by the special brotherhood and base knowledge from EOD technicians worldwide.
According to Ryan, communication gaps were quickly alleviated by the universal knowledge shared by the EOD teams participating in the training event.
“Even though the language barrier at times was a little hectic and slowed down the pace of training, we were still able to get the concepts we wanted out to the class,” he added.
The symbology associated with the EOD occupation badge was crucial in bridging the language barrier during the training.
“The best relationships are forged under stress or hard conditions and every one of us that serves under this career field knows the danger that our counterparts face,” Ryan said. “If I see someone wearing the same EOD badge, that’s an immediate recognition that we are brothers. We all do the exact same job and for us, the badge we all wear across all military branches says that.”
Joint training provides a mutually beneficial situation where all parties involved can learn from each other.
“Everyone has different experiences and different rules, per example, the Army does things differently from the Air Force and the Kuwaitis may do things differently than any of us,” said Master Sgt. Dallas Roll, 386th ECES explosive ordnance craftsman. “So these training events are a good opportunity to show each other ways of doing things, share tactics, techniques and talk about different scenarios. All parties can benefit greatly from that.”
The training conducted here with the KMOD provides environmental insights that can be used by American forces anywhere within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
“Learning from the Kuwaitis provides insight on an environment different from the ones we have back home,” said Staff Sgt. Frank Lopez, 386th ECES explosive ordnance journeyman. “They know things about their AOR that we don’t know so gaining that knowledge from them is vital for us, especially if we went into a major conflict in a similar environment.”
In addition to sharing knowledge, the training event provided an opportunity for both American forces and host nation forces to bond and strengthen relationships vital to the security and stability necessary for peaceful cooperation.
“Reaching out to our partners and fostering these relationships absolutely makes or breaks the rotations over here,” Ryan said.