[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    February 8, 2008
Training

Decommissioned oxygen tanks 
simulate IEDs for mob training

By Lacey Justinger, The Real McCoy Contributor

      Decommissioned oxygen tanks have been recommissioned as simulated improvised explosive devices (IED) for mobilization training at Fort McCoy.

Photo: Oxygen tanks are used to simulate chlorine improvised explosive devices in the rear seat of an abandoned car used in mobilization training at Fort McCoy. (Photo submitted by 181st Infantry Brigade)
Oxygen tanks are used to simulate chlorine improvised explosive devices in the rear seat of an abandoned car used in mobilization training at Fort McCoy. (Photo submitted by 181st Infantry Brigade)

      The bright yellow oxygen cylinders, commonly used by welders, double as chlorine gas tanks that have been used to ambush Soldiers in-theater for the past year. Mobilizing Soldiers train to spot and react to these tanks in abandoned cars during route clearance or where hidden behind trees and under brush while conducting foot patrols.   

      "There is a specific threat. Approximately 70 percent of all casualties are from IEDs, so that's where our attention is focused," said 1st Lt. Ryan J. Gore, officer in charge of the 181st Infantry Brigade IED training. "There's a stigma surrounding chemical warfare -- the fear of the unknown. It's something scary on a primal level, so it's a great terror weapon. Deployed Soldiers hear it exists, but if they haven't received any training about it they are very ill at ease. We put the training scenarios in so that Soldiers gain familiarity."

      "There are challenges in creating dynamic training that's responsive to current trends like chlorine bombs in warfare," said Maj. Margaret R. Fierst with the 181st Infantry Brigade Eagle Brigade Command Post.

      During mobilization, Soldiers train to report IEDs or potential exposure hazards, control and secure the immediate surrounding area as well as practice proper safety-egress procedures.

      Although chemical threats are not limited to chlorine gas, it is the most common threat because it is easily accessible at water treatment facilities and factories.


"Chemicals are readily available, and the attacks are effective for mass hysteria and terror."

Sgt. 1st Class 
Daniel J. Maurer,
181st Infantry Brigade

      "Chemicals are readily available, and the attacks are effective for mass hysteria and terror," said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel J. Maurer, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 181st Infantry Brigade IED training. "By enhancing our training set, it's easier to mimic the insurgents in-theater. We try to stay current."

      Although every IED class is tailored toward the specific deploying unit, the basic and fundamental principles stay the same, Maurer said.

      Soldiers train on maintaining 360-degree security and situational awareness, returning fire, seeking cover and taking care of the wounded.

      "IEDs are kept as a collective event," he said. "We use IEDs in convoys or on the dismounted patrol lanes."

      "This perspective will enhance training so that Soldiers aren't just imagining the threats with static displays," said Fierst.

      For additional IED information, deploying Soldiers can access the Center for Army Lessons Learned at http://call.army.mil/ or through their Army Knowledge Online accounts.

(Justinger is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)

 

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