Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar –
Story adapted from original 379 AEW story published Feb. 24, 2018
Defense Logistics Agency personnel in Qatar helped airmen from 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron and 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight collaborate on a training exercise recently.
An excess vehicle provided by DLA Dispostion Services personnel became the prop set up by EOD to simulated a vehicle borne improvised explosive device scenario to practice each step responders should take in the event of real-life threat.
“Practice makes perfect, just like anything,” said Staff Sgt. Amber Savage, a member of the 379th ESFS. “If we practice these things, we get a systematic, thorough way of doing them so that we’re able to respond correctly and ensure we minimize any damage and lives lost in a real-world event.”
DLA Disposition Services employee Lorenzo Lopez said the team was very happy to help the EOD team get the vehicle used in the training.
"EOD falls under Civil Enigneering, and they’re one of our most active customers,” Lopez said. “It gives us great joy to assist them so they can move forward with the training they do.”
Before inspecting the vehicle, EOD presented a briefing on what to look for and how to react when dealing with a suspicious vehicle. The presentation outlined common hiding areas and reoccurring warning signs.
The vehicle search began with members of the Military Working Dog unit of 379th ESFS using the dogs to sniff out the general location of the prop explosives. This provided not only training for the dogs, but guidance to the rest of the security forces members who don’t normally handle dogs.
“It’s a tidbit for them,” said Staff Sgt. Travis Fiero, an MWD handler for the 379th ESFS. “They can kind of pick up on information and see how the dogs work in case we ever need a spotter. They can see the dog’s trained behavior and get an understanding of what we do and why we do things a certain way.”
After determining the presence of explosives with the dogs, the Airmen evacuated to a safe distance from the gate. EOD then began their participation in the exercise, which involved the use of a F6B robot and EOD 10 bomb suit to further investigate the location of the explosives and neutralize the threat.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Roberts, a member of the 379th’s EOD flight, deemed the exercise a “successfully ran operation.”
“All the notifications that needed to happen happened and all the avenues that needed to be taken were taken,” Roberts said. “The car pulled up, security forces found the suspicious item, they contacted BDOC (Base Defense Operations Center), BDOC contacted us, and we responded in a timely manner and were able to establish a cordon and successfully interrogate the item.”
According to Roberts, the 379th’s EOD flight conduct training scenarios with other units as much as possible. Not only did this collaboration make the training more authentic, but also provided them with a better idea of how security forces operates.
“It’s really good for us to integrate with other units so we don’t have to make things up from the top of our heads,” Roberts said. “It presents more realism in the scenarios. We’re pushing back real distances away from a real search gate with a real vehicle, so we’re not having to just pretend.
“Knowing security forces’ procedures is big, because you want to try and keep everyone safe with the cordon,” Roberts continued. “So learning how they operate and learning how we can operate in the future in case of a real scenario is very important. Am I going to be able to access this with the robot? Do I need to use a manual approach first? Am I going to have sufficient room for my response vehicle? These are all questions you need to think about beforehand.”