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Reservists learn to defeat IEDs in Warrior Exercise 2012 at Fort Hunter Liggett

June 22, 2012

By Spc. Kayla Benson, 358th Public Affairs Detachment

FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. (June 22, 2012) -- U.S. Army Reservists from the 291st Transportation Battalion, 718th Transportation Battalion and 869th Movement Control Team, excelled in counter improvised explosive device training during Warrior Exercise 2012 at Fort Hunter Liggett.

The transportation units moved in a Humvee convoy through mock Afghan cities in search of suspicious activity. The first exercise took place in a desolate town. Two abandoned vehicles blocked the convoy's route and the units had to survey their surroundings for an alternate road.

Once the Soldiers moved around the obstacle, they spotted a possible roadside bomb underneath an abandoned car. A Soldier used his radio to report the improvised explosive device, or IED, and while he was doing this, a secondary IED exploded. None of the Soldiers were injured, but the first Humvee was hit by the blast, and as a result, the troops had to simulate towing it out of the city.

After the scenario, the Soldiers discussed their performance in an after-action review. Staff Sgt. Alan Mendenhall, lane master with the 10th Battalion of the 91st Training Division, praised the group for properly reacting to the situation.

In another training event, the Soldiers moved through a simulated bazaar on foot and interacted with friendly local civilians. A Soldier located an IED in the bazaar and the units immediately posted security. Another correct response.

The Soldiers had to spot a hidden roadside bomb off of the convoy route in the final exercise. A long, rusted pipe was discarded off road with an IED placed inside. Some Soldiers passed by it, while others tried to drive around it. Although the Soldiers did not use the correct procedures during the scenario, they discussed their deficiencies and now know the proper steps to control the situation in the future.

"We spent the last couple days running rock drills," said Spc. Dante Wimberly, a transportation specialist with the 869th MTC. "We put in a lot of time doing that and we tried to come out here and execute it."

Training to react to roadside bombs is important, said Wimberly. "That way, we can go ahead and apply what we learn and use it in theater," he said.

From roadside bombs to secondary explosions, the Soldiers adapted to and overcame the obstacles that were thrown at them. This training is vital for Soldiers because the scenarios portray realistic situations in combat. Fort Hunter Liggett's 12-kilometer IED defeat lane offers those scenarios at every turn.

"We will go on convoys, which would require being on the lookout for possible IEDs," said Spc. Jason King, a transportation management coordinator with the 718th TB. "The more familiarized we get with it, the more apt we'll be to see it in the future when the time comes."

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