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Military

SECTION IX

SITUATIONAL AND MINE AWARENESS TRAINING


U.S. soldiers deploying to Bosnia received Individual Readiness Training (IRT) at the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) in Hohenfels, GE. The three-day training event increased soldier situational and mine awareness and better prepared them for operating in the dangerous, heavily mined environment in Bosnia. It is projected that this training reduced the number of mine-related accidents in Bosnia. One-station Individual Readiness Training may become a standard predeployment requirement for heavily mined peace missions of the future.

At the CMTC, IRT consisted of training in situational and mine awareness, force protection, hazardous driving and convoy operations, and first aid instruction. The first training day was primarily classroom instruction. The second day consisted of hands-on training and practical exercise instruction. On the third training day, soldiers were placed in squad-size elements and completed situational exercise (STX) lanes designed to test all the skills trained on during the first and second days.

Three-Day Individual Readiness Training Schedule
Day One Classroom
Day Two PE
Day Three Situational Training
Exercise Lanes
  • In Processing
  • Welcome Briefing
  • Country Overview
  • Media Awareness
  • Mine Detonation
  • ROE
  • First Aid
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Driving/Convoy Op
  • Countermine
  • Mine Awareness
  • Force Protection Skills
  • Checkpoint Operations
Situational Awareness Lane
  • Press
  • Conduct Searches
  • Local Security
  • Reporting
Force Protection Lane
  • Mines
  • Booby Traps/UXO
  • React to Arty/Ambush/Sniper
  • React to Factions

Situational and Mine Awareness Training

Situational and mine awareness training for peace operations, particularly in a mine-rich AO, must begin during the predeployment phase and continue throughout the contingency. Prior to deploying to Bosnia, all soldiers received situational and mine awareness training at the CMTC. This training prepared each soldier for operating in a dangerous environment such as Bosnia. Although this centralized individual training concept produced excellent results and could be used as a model or a standard training event for future peacekeeping missions, unit situational and mine awareness training must be the primary means of ensuring soldier proficiency.

Unit awareness training must emphasize the specific hazards soldiers will face in the AO to which they are deploying. Adversary or faction mine TTP must be captured and incorporated into a predeployment training package to counter the threat to U.S. soldiers. Once in the AO, all mine, booby trap, UXO, and mine-strike lessons should be reviewed and used to update and refine unit training plans.

The TFE Mine Action Center provided units with training guidance based on ordnance-related incidents that occurred in Bosnia. Units used this information to conduct periodic mine and soldier awareness training.

LESSONS LEARNED: Situational and mine awareness training is a continual process. Units must not depend solely on IRT at the CMTC as the only training soldiers need to operate in an ordnance-rich environment. At home station, a situational and mine awareness training plan should be developed, incorporated into predeployment training, and completed in conjunction with IRT. Essential training resources must be deployed with the unit to continue training during the contingency. A recommended training program for situational and mine awareness training is listed below.

Session 1 - Individual Mines Awareness Training
Training/Instruction Methods of Instruction
Country and Operational Area Overview

U.S./Allied Responsibilities with Mines, UXO, Booby Traps*

Threat Mines and Emplacement Techniques

Threat Booby Traps and Emplacement Techniques

Familiarization with UXO

AAR

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Leader Lead Discussion

*Training on U.S./Allied responsibilities in mine, UXO and booby-trap clearing is extremely important. Soldiers participating in any operation should understand his or her responsibilities and limitations in dealing with mines, UXO and booby traps while deployed. For Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD, the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) stipulated that the Former Warring Factions (FWFs) were responsible for removing all mines, UXO, explosive devices, and wire obstacles, and for dismantling fortifications, not U.S. or Allied soldiers. This was an important force protection issue and required a clear understanding of U.S./Allied duties. Not having a clear understanding in this area could have been detrimental to soldiers, units and the mission, and could have caused unnecessary injuries to soldiers and damage to equipment.

Session 2 - Individual Mines Awareness Training
Training/Instruction Methods of Instruction
Allied/Enemy Minefield Marking Procedures

Mine Strike Actions and Reporting

Minefield, Booby Traps, UXO Actions and Reporting

U.S. Detection and Breaching Techniques and Equipment

AAR

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Leader Lead Discussion

Session 3 - Collective Mine-Clearing Techniques Training
Training/Instruction Methods of Instruction
Unit Pre-Combat Inspections

Evacuation of a Casualty from Mined Areas

Protective Measures Hardening of Vehicles and Equipment

New and Developing Breaching and Clearing Equipment

AAR

Lecture, Handouts

Lecture, Demonstration

Lecture, Demonstration

Lecture, Handouts, Films

Leader Lead Discussion

Session 4 - Situational Training Exercise (STX) Lanes Training
Unit situational and mine awareness training is far more effective if reinforced by situational training exercise (STX) lanes scheduled near the end of classroom instruction and practical exercise training. STX events may be performed mounted and dismounted.
Recommended STX Lane Events:

  • Reaction to a Mine Strike
  • Evacuation of Casualties from Mined Area
  • UXO Detection, Reaction and Reporting
  • Hardening of Vehicles and Equipment
  • Mine Sweeps using a Mine Detector
  • Battle Drill for Breaching with Factions (Engineer Units)

Mine and Situational Awareness Training and Unit SOPs

Units should also consolidate and organize all TTPs into a unit Mine and Situational Awareness SOP. One incident in Bosnia highlights how important a unit SOP can be.

A TFE engineer unit conducted a mine sweep of an area previously cleared by factional engineers. Detailed validation sweeps in areas previously cleared by factional units had become a part of the engineer unit SOP. During the sweep, one soldier spotted a trip wire connected to a PMR-2A anti-personnel mine. Following the unit SOP, combined with the attention to detail of the soldier, helped save the lives of anyone who entered the area.

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