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The Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) threat in Bosnia was high. TFE patrols continually found UXO in the AO. Because many indigenous families also found UXO in the neighborhoods of Tuzla, Bosnia, the city Chief of Police requested that TFE help destroy the UXO.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Support in Bosnia

TFE maintained EOD teams forward in the area of operations to provide quick response to forward units. An EOD staff section from the supporting EOD detachment collocated with the Assistant Division Engineer (ADE) Cell in the TFE headquarters. The EOD detachment command cell operated out of a central base camp while EOD teams were pushed forward to the task forces. This arrangement allowed rapid and responsive support to forward elements and central control at the TFE Headquarters to manage wide EOD issues.

EOD Detachments

EOD detachments normally consisted of 23 personnel structured into three cells for command, operations, and response, and five EOD teams.

EOD Teams

A typical EOD team is made up of a team leader, normally a staff sergeant (SSG), and one or two assistants. When deployed, an ALO-1 unit should be able to field five teams, made up of three soldiers each.

In garrison, the teams primarily use contact trucks or civilian vehicles to respond to EOD incidents. During deployments, EOD teams deploy with their M998 series HMMWVs. To carry all of the team's tools, the HMMWVs need to be configured as a two-seater. If the EOD team consists of three soldiers, the third soldier has to sit in the cargo area of the vehicle.

The EOD units that participated in Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR or JOINT GUARD deployed EOD teams of two or three soldiers. During some missions, EOD teams had to operate independently from their EOD company for up to 72 hours. This required the teams to carry additional Class I and personal items. Two EOD technicians were usually sufficient to complete most all EOD missions, including weapons storage site inspections, post-blast investigations, and reconnaissance.

LESSON LEARNED: EOD teams deploying with HMMWVs should employ two-man teams. This allows for the formation of additional teams if additional vehicles are available.

TTP for Discovered UXO

UXO may not always pose an immediate threat, but UXO can cause sudden injuries, loss of life, and damage to equipment if appropriate actions are not taken. The following steps must take place when UXO is discovered.

1. Stop all movement. Do not move toward the suspected UXO. Some types of ordnance have magnetic or motion-sensitive fusing.

2. NEVER GET CLOSE TO, OR PICK UP, AN UXO, even if identification is impossible! Make any further observations of the UXO with binoculars, if available.

3. Mark the area so other personnel will not venture into it. Proper markings will also help EOD personnel find the hazard if they are called to respond to your UXO report.

4. Evacuate the area while carefully scanning for other hazards.

5. Report the UXO through command channels. Remember, because radio transmissions can possibly set off UXO, always make radio transmissions from at least 150 meters away.

6. Take protective measures to reduce the hazard to personnel and equipment. Notify local people in the area.

Reporting First-Seen Ordnance

EOD personnel are trained to perform technical intelligence evaluations on "first-seen" ordnance and report these items through intelligence channels. EOD teams in Bosnia encountered more than 40 UXO items that had not been documented in intelligence files. EOD teams are well equipped to record first-seen ordnance. They maintain mobile computers with data bases to verify UXO items as "first-seen" ordnance. EOD technicians X-ray the ordnance, take pictures, and complete measurements for use in technical drawings. Once this information is gathered, it is forwarded up through EOD intelligence channels.

During Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, units reportedly destroyed items of UXO without first verifying with the TFE EOD detachment whether the items were first-seen ordnance.

LESSONS LEARNED: Unless the mission dictates otherwise, UXO should not be destroyed before checking with supporting EOD teams to determine whether it is first-seen ordnance. First-seen ordnance must be recorded and reports forwarded by EOD technicians through intelligence channels. This ensures the that the U.S. maintains up-to-date information on ordnance throughout the world. Units are often unaware of the EOD mission to record these items. All soldiers must be informed of this requirement.

Recognizing UXO

Soldier knowledge of UXO is essential to help prevent the risk of injury. FM 21-16, Unexploded Ordnance Procedures, provides detailed illustrations and identifying characteristics of the four categories of UXO, including: Dropped Ordnance, Projected Ordnance, Thrown Ordnance, and Placed Ordnance.

Reporting UXO

If at all possible, UXO should be avoided. If avoidance is not possible, take protective measures to reduce hazard to personnel and equipment. Regardless of action taken, UXO should be marked and reported through command channels using the Nine-Line UXO Report.

The Nine-Line UXO Report

1. Date-Time Group UXO discovered.

2. Reporting Unit/Activity and UXO location (grid coordinates).

3. Contact Method (how EOD team can contact the reporting unit). Discovering Unit POC, MSE or DSN Phone Number and Unit Frequency/Call Sign.

4. Type of UXO (dropped, projected, thrown or placed) and number of items discovered.

5. Hazards caused by the item (i.e., possible chemical threat, limits travel on key route, etc.).

6. Resources Threatened. Report any equipment, facilities or other assets threatened by presence of item(s).

7. Impact on Mission. Your current situation and how the presence of the UXO affect your status.

8. Protective Measures. Describe measures taken to protect personnel and equipment (i.e., marking the area, informing local civilians).

9. Recommend Priority: Recommend priority for response by EOD.

Remember, radio transmissions can potentially set off UXO. Always make radio transmissions from a location at least 150 meters away from UXO!

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