Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Jose Ramirez | 71st 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Public Affairs Office
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Soldiers with 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), hosted electronic countermeasure training Feb. 19-20 for 38 EOD, intelligence and electronic warfare Soldiers from nine installations across the U.S.
The training provided service members of multiple military branches with hands-on experience with electronic countermeasure equipment used to deter threats in a combat environment.
“They actually got to see exactly what happens when you turn on your system,” said Capt. Steven White, electronic warfare officer, 71st EOD. “This is exactly what happens against each specific radio-controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED). They can build confidence in their systems, and know 100 percent if they turn on their systems it will defeat these RCIEDs.”
Training on electronic countermeasure systems enhances Soldiers’ capabilities downrange.
“These systems are like manpack radio systems that any Soldier going out on patrol should have,” said Staff Sgt. Abdiel Mata, electronic warfare NCO, 71st EOD.
An important aspect of the training was bringing outside units and services to Fort Carson to enhance interoperability between various military branches.
White said it’s important to work with various branches to understand tactics, techniques and procedures in order to work well on missions together.
The RCIED countermeasure equipment training proved to be beneficial for the trainees.
“I had seen (RCIED equipment) at EOD school, but this is the first time I have seen them turned on, working and seeing what they actually do,” said Marae Kalian, EOD technician, 764th Ordnance Company, 71st EOD. “We need to understand the way they function … in order to get the maximum result we are looking for.”
Lessons learned from the course were not meant to make the trainees’ expert electronic warfare officers, but instead, introduce the ideas and concepts of electronic countermeasures (ECM).
Mata said getting hands on the equipment is the most important part — knowing how it works and how to test it are imperative.
What set this training apart from other ECM training events was the live demonstrations for the trainees.
“Any other organization, any other installation … could use segregate systems, but they’re not necessarily getting the actual effect and the way to do it,” Mata said.
The training not only benefited the trainees, but will help further training for future electronic warfare Soldiers.
“We were the first unit in the Army to conduct live electronic countermeasure training,” White said. “We were able to get this done at home station training. We were able to crack the code and radiate live.”