JOINT BASE CAPE COD, Mass. –
The Guard’s premiere Weapons of Mass Destruction warriors honed their improvised explosive device (IED) awareness skills, here Feb. 26, 2014.
The Soldiers and Airmen of the 1st Civil Support Team, Massachusetts National Guard, have been trained to identify and assess chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive devices. They also specialize in advising and assisting first responders and authorities on how to render weapons of mass destruction harmless.
The unit’s commander, Lt. Col. Matthew Woolums, expressed his intent for the training saying, “We are working with IED experts to make sure our teams have good IED awareness, so we’ve linked up with the counter IED folks here at Joint Base Cape Cod and we’re conducting some training lanes that have threats that we deal with on a day-to-day basis.”
During the training the unit focused on detecting improvised explosive devices in an urban setting. IED experts hid simulated explosive devices and triggers in buildings, behind doors, under blankets, couch cushions and mattresses to challenge the Guardsmen’s awareness of their surroundings.
One of the experts, Philip Rhett, Asymmetric Warfare Integrator, Counter IED Integration Cell, Booze, Allen, and Hamilton said, “This training is developed so that CST teams that come through refine their techniques and procedures for operating in a real-world situation. We try to incorporate all aspects of a mission they can be called in on such as chemical and explosive agents,” said Rhett.
The teams walked through multiple buildings and rooms that looked like something in a haunted house at Halloween because of all of the potential poisons, explosives and traps to set them off. The idea is to see if they can spot and assess a danger without being so focused that they miss something that could injure or kill someone.
Sgt. 1st Class Stephen French, operations noncommissioned officer, 1st Civil Support Team, Massachusetts National Guard, participated in the training. Discussing the importance of the training French said, “Ever since the Global War on Terrorism IEDs have been a big thing and even since the Boston marathon we work one-on-one with bomb techs almost every week. This training helps us to avoid becoming complacent and missing a threat because we’re so used to focusing on the chemical aspect of this type of mission.”