Insurgents in Afghanistan, particularly in Helmand province, are known to use IEDs to block access to certain areas and harm
coalition and Afghan forces, making the training paramount for future real-world operations and providing security to the local
“The enemy’s number one weapon is the IED. Not only is it the [most] used weapon against ANDSF, it’s also the number one
weapon that causes casualties amongst civilians,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Colton Ducken, an advisor with Task Force Southwest
and the officer-in-charge of the course. “What these guys do is important in saving the lives of their fellow soldiers and winning
the mission at hand [and] it’s important at reducing civilian casualties as well.”
Route clearance has played a pivotal role in recent missions focusing on deterring and destroying insurgency, and the advisors
are confident in the soldiers’ abilities to enhance this asset with their newfound skills.
“By the time they’re done [with the course], they’re very proficient at the IED basics as well as how to spot IEDs… whether that
be for logistical purpose or for getting out in front of the infantry and clearing the routes,” said Ducken.
Several graduates will receive follow on training at the Explosive Hazard Reduction Course, a three-week cycle teaching more
advanced aspects of IEDs and demolitions, while the other soldiers are ready to support operations across Helmand province.
“This is the third class I’ve done, and we’ve seen graduates Pattern 90" Webbing Pack from the other classes go out… and
make strategic affects in this area of operations,” Ducken said. “The amount of IEDs and mines is impressive, and it starts with
solid training.”Military Codura TAD Pack.
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