MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Explosive ordnance disposal technicians deal with things that go boom, a lot. But what happens when they show up and an explosion has already occurred, and people are injured?
EOD technicians from Mountain Home Air Force base honed their medical care skills August 24 at the Idaho Army National Guard’s “Orchard training area”.
"It’s one of the culmination events for the Tactical Combat Casualty Care course that we have here,” said Tech. Sgt. William Roberts, NCO in-charge of operations and training. “It’s basically designed to treat casualties on the battlefield. Given the nature of what we do it’s come into play more times than we really care to think about.”
It’s a small piece of the EOD puzzle, but when they’re the first to arrive at the scene of an incident they need to be able to handle whatever they find.
“We do different training every month and every month has a theme for what that training entails,” Roberts said. “We try to bring in classes to augment that training, so this is an augment to wartime or war skills training.”
The training gives EOD technicians more ability in the field, something that those outside of EOD can benefit from as well.
"I think it’s good at least as a medic to see other people getting trained in [scenarios] that downrange are primarily the medic’s job,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Kainrath, 366th Medical Group paramedic. “It kind of lightens the load for the medics so we can treat the sicker people.”
Those participating were given several scenarios with volunteers acting as injured parties to give as realistic a scene as possible. After each scenario the team was briefed on what they did well and how to improve response in the future. The exercise ran from the afternoon until the early hours of the morning, allowing the opportunity to train with their night vision goggles.
“It’s a skillset that a lot of people probably don’t exercise as often as they should,” Roberts said. “So it’s good for the guys to get out and actually use their equipment, like tonight with what we’re doing with the NVG’s. Most scenarios take place during normal duty hours so they don’t get a chance to exercise with that equipment as often as we’d probably like. So the Army has been gracious enough to allow us to use orchard range to conduct this training.”
In the future Mountain Home EOD and Idaho Army National Guard from Gowan Field plan to continue their working relationship, joining their assets to provide the best training possible for both branches.