Story by Oli Talbott, U.S. Army Africa Counter-IED Fusion Cell
N’DJAMENA, CHAD – Two Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians from the 723rd Ordnance Company (EOD) in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, conducted a train-the-trainer engagement with Chadian engineers at the DIRGENIE (Combat Engineer) Battalion Headquarters in N’Djamena, Chad, Dec. 5-14, 2016.
The U.S. Army Africa-led engagement brought subject matter experts to share their best practices with Chadian engineers to increase their capacity to conduct counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) missions.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Garrett McGuire, 723rd Ordnance Company, led the training team using language assistance from members of the U.S. Air Force Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP).
Chadian engineer students were given instruction on basic awareness of improvised explosive devices, safety, awareness of home-made explosives, ground signs, handheld detectors, dismounted and mounted C-IED operations, personnel searches and vehicle searches.
The training was augmented with personal experiences from the field shared by McGuire and U.S. Army Spc. Patrick McCutcheon, 723rd Ordnance Company member.
Following each module the Chadian students prepared and conducted a “teach-back” to the instructors to demonstrate their proficiency in teaching the modules. Students demonstrated their ability to teach the information that they had learned and ensured that the information was instructed in an understandable fashion.
“This system allows for the exponential expansion of C-IED knowledge within the Chadian Forces,” said McGuire. “By teaching this course, we have begun to provide Chadian EOD engineers the ability to strengthen their forces by giving them the tools and knowledge to teach awareness to other troops on the ground.”
The ranks of members in the class ranged from sergeant to major.
The DIRGENIE (Combat Engineer) battalion commander, Chadian Defense Force Commandant Issaka, said, “the American training started not too long ago, but we have benefitted from it tremendously because of the methods the Americans use to teach, which is to make us independent, and not rely on them in the future. Chadians have the courage to fight terrorism but we lack the experience the Americans have.”
Two members of the U.S. Air Force LEAP, Tech. Sgt. Komi Deh and Staff Sgt. Jamal Alkubaisee, provided language assistance in both French and Arabic. They attended the training and facilitated briefings and discussions between students and mentors.
Following the seven-day course Alkubaisee said, “It was very informative and vital training, and a great personal and professional experience for myself.”
“We assisted in providing the Chadian military personnel with the tools to perform in a successful way. By sharing the Army EOD Techs’ experiences with the Chadians they will be more prepared for any situation that involves IEDs,” said Alkubaisee.
“This experience tested and increased my language skills, and assisted our partner nation friends at the same time,” said Alkubaisee.
The USARAF C-IED program plans, coordinates, and oversees the execution of C-IED training with multiple partner nations across the African continent with the intent of increasing C-IED capacity and capability on the African continent.