[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                               November 28, 2008

IED-Defeat Complex to train 
Soldiers in real-world scenarios

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff 

Work is on track to have an Improvised Explosive Device (IED)-Defeat training complex completed by spring 2009 at Fort McCoy to serve all military personnel training at the installation.

Photo: Employees from Fowler and Hammer, Inc., of La Crosse, Wis., begin groundwork to construct a lane of the IED-Defeat Complex at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Employees from Fowler and Hammer, Inc., of La Crosse, Wis., begin groundwork to construct a lane of the IED-Defeat Complex at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Terry Hoff, Range Officer for the Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), said the training complex will have two IED lanes, each approximately six kilometers long.

The training areas will include traffic circles, divided highways, guard rails, overpasses, canals, etc. Hoff said these are all landscape or terrain features that personnel likely would encounter during overseas in-theater deployments or other contingency operations.

The two lanes should provide enough capacity and throughput to meet the training needs for any units that want to conduct IED training at Fort McCoy, Hoff said. The units using the lanes will have to be large enough to provide opposing forces and observer-controller-trainer personnel.

Urban facades and/or facilities, such as search houses, typical business facilities, courtyards, etc., also will be established on the lanes. Personnel will have access to the latest devices used to search/detect/protect troops from the IED threat, such as SPARK (self-protection adaptive roller kit), which can be used with a Humvee; Cyclone blowers; metal detectors; vehicle-borne IED simulations, etc., he said.

"The lanes will have a high-tech feel and train military personnel on the latest IED techniques to give them more realism," Hoff said. "We installed structures, such as the guard rails, whenever possible where it provided the necessary training and also made sense to make the routes safer."

Hoff said the lanes can be used separately or together to serve the largest number of troops. The lanes will have standard training features that are found at other IED training lanes, but variations are allowed so the differing organizations have flexibility to construct lanes to meet their needs and material availability.

In Fort McCoy’s case, Hoff said that included having personnel participating in the Troop Projects program complete some of the work, such as creating the road, traffic circles, etc., that existed on the first IED lane. Hoff said he also worked with and sought input about the IED-Defeat Lanes from personnel in the 181st Infantry Brigade. The 181st is responsible for coordinating mobilization training at Fort McCoy.

1st. Lt. Ryan Gore, 181st IED-Defeat officer in charge (OIC), said he and his IED-Defeat NCOIC, Sgt. 1st Class Dan Maurer, worked with Hoff to make the IED-Defeat lanes as realistic as possible. 

Gore brought the experience of three deployments to the task, while Maurer, who has deployed five times, has experience running the IED training the 181st offers.

"We really wanted a search house included because personnel should be prepared to do a systematic search through buildings in-theater," Gore said. "The other items are things that would be seen in-theater, which we have seen during are deployments."

Gore said even though many of the personnel in units being deployed have been deployed previously many people in reserve-component units are new and haven’t been deployed.

It is very important for them to see realistic IED scenarios before they are deployed, he said.

"This will be a great asset for National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers conducting any type of training, including extended combat training, here," Gore said. "In addition to giving personnel who haven’t been deployed a chance to see these things, it gives their officers and NCOs a great training aid to teach them about it."

The project should be completed by next spring. Hoff said the lanes can be scheduled for use by calling the DPTMS Range Scheduling Section at (608) 388-3721/4142/3713.


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