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Public Affairs : C-IED training builds confidence in CFT trainees

C-IED training builds awareness, confidence

Story and photos by Mike Strasser
Assistant Editor
 
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Aug. 2, 2013) — They were receiving an in-brief when a simulated explosion and gunfire caused the cadet company to jump back a step. This was merely a welcome to Counter-IED training, courtesy of the Forces Command team from the Fort Drum Defeat IED Center of Excellence.

The team was at Camp Buckner to provide C-IED training for the Class of 2016 during Cadet Field Training. Jeffrey Moore, one of the CI2C program trainers, said their typical audience is comprised of deploying combat Soldiers.

“We perform all the pre-deployment training directed by FORSCOM at each major installation,” Moore said. “And every major installation has a CI2C team, that’s short for Counter Improvised Explosive Team Integration Cell.”

This was their first visit to West Point and Cadet Field Training.

“Our team is very passionate about this subject and have some first-hand, real-world experience and our goal here is familiarization,” Moore said. “The cadets have been very receptive to this training.”

The trainers all explained to the cadets they weren’t here to impart expertise, but heightened awareness and confidence in this specialized field. Part of that awareness is knowing the responsibility Soldiers have when detecting an IED.

“Once you find it, you own it,” one trainer told a group of cadets. It’s now you’re responsibility for keeping people away until someone is able to clear it.”

That’s when trainers instructed on the nine principles of IED combat, which starts with keeping an offensive mindset.

During the five-hour training course, cadets also learned the mindset of those who build and detonate IEDs.

Cadets rotated through an IED Awareness class, equipment familiarization—to include robotics —and an indicator lane where trainees were tasked with using the Counter-IED gear to detect possible explosives and its components in the field.

Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Hayes, a U.S. Military Academy military science instructor, served as the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of this training site.

“I think because of the current threat of IEDs, this training has evolved so much in the last decade,” Hayes said. “That’s why our goal here is to have cadets walk away with a basic understanding of this technology and to know this threat isn’t situated only in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

 
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Cadets work with counter-IED equipment such as robotics, while also using a handheld detector to detect munitions during an indicator lane exercise
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A Forces Command team from the Fort Drum Defeat IED Center of Excellence was at Camp Buckner to provide C-IED training for the Class of 2016 during Cadet Field Training. This was the team’s first time at CFT to train the rising yearlings. Jeffrey Moore, one of the CI2C program trainers, said their typical audience is composed of deploying combat Soldiers. 

Not too long ago retired Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett departed West Point as the outgoing CSM for the Corps of Cadets. Then, he was adamant about enhancing counter-IED training during cadet summer training.

In his current position within the FORSCOM Training Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., Burnett saw the opportunity to provide more training to the cadets this summer—something they haven’t seen before and more hands-on, he said.

“Having served as command sergeant major at JIEDDO (Joint IED Defeat Organization), he understands this is training needed at every level and it needs to be reoccurring,” Hayes said. “I think the cadets here are walking away with some knowledge they can use after they leave West Point.”

Class of 2016 Cadet Alex Duffy said it was the stories that made the most impact. The team not only had the subject matter expertise for counter-IED instruction but some of them survived such attacks in the field and shared their experiences.

“Everyone knows that the threats are real, but just hearing their personal experiences with IEDs really solidified what they were teaching,” Duffy said. “They reminded of things we tend to forget, like never underestimating the enemy.” 

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A simulated attack on a Humvee with an improvised explosive device and direct fire got the attention of the company of cadets and welcomed them to the Counter-IED training provided by a Forces Command team from Fort Drum, N.Y., during Cadet Field Training.