512th Quartermaster Co. maintains IED Awareness
Story and photos by Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
3rd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Twenty-five Soldiers with the personal security detachment of the 512th Quartermaster Company, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) attended level two counter-improvised explosive device training June 24 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
“We’re making them aware of what kind of IEDs we have here in Iraq,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Atherton, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of force protection with the 3rd Sustainment Bde. and a native of The Villages, Fla. “We want to make them more aware of the clues that indicate the presence of an IED.”
The Soldiers walked through two training lanes. One lane gave Soldiers 10 minutes to stand at a point and search for possible IEDs. In the second lane, Soldiers tried to spot IEDs while on the move in their Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles.
Pfc. Michael Williams, a driver with the 512th Quartermaster Co., and a West Memphis, Ark., native, said he hopes this training will help him better identify possible IEDs and keep the lives of his crew safe while on the road.
“If they can identify the hazard before they reach it, they can effectively save lives,” Williams said. “By not taking things seriously out here, it could cost (your) or your battle buddy’s life.”
Level one training is required of all Soldiers coming into theater. It is more of a simple orientation class about IEDs. The level two training is required of all Soldiers who have a regular mission outside of the wire. It teaches more in-depth concepts than basic counter-IED training—why they are placed, where they are, types of triggers and the times of year IED attacks are more likely to occur.
The 25-member team learned what indicators exist based on the most up-to-date information, said 2nd Lt. Blair Miller, platoon leader of the PSD with the 512th Quartermaster Co., and a Seaside Park, N.J., native.
“Now we are more aware of what the threats are and all the different indicators out there,” she said. “Now we’re not just out there stomping around and waiting to get hit.”
Atherton said she was glad to be able to give something to the Soldiers so they were safer on roads.
“Because I am not able to go off the base with these Soldiers, it makes me feel good that I am able to give them more tools in their tool bag to make it through the mission and make it home safe,” she said.
Miller said she thought the training was important to, not only her team, but any Soldier in Iraq.
“Any Soldier who is going to be out on the road needs to know the most up-to-date threats,” she said. “If you don’t know what’s out there, then you have no business on the roads at all.”
Sgt. Audra Bourque, a driver for the personal security detachment with Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Boston native, sets up a mock improvised explosive device June 24 to train other Soldiers during a level two counter-IED training class at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gaelen Lowers)
Sgt. Robert Higgins (kneeling), a squad leader for the personal security detachment with Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and an Andalusia, Ala., native shows how an improvised explosive device may be detonated to Soldiers during level two counter-IED training at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gaelen Lowers)