19 WING COMOX— Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) explosive disposal experts from across Canada are in the Comox Valley to hone their skills at finding, identifying and defeating Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
RCAF personnel are taking part in Exercise Tazz-Runner, a two-week-long training opportunity, designed to challenge even the most skilled IED disposal personnel. While in Comox, they have a chance to not only improve their own abilities, but to share experiences and knowledge with members from other bases.
“Although the combat mission in Afghanistan has ended, it is important we maintain and improve the skills we learned in defeating IEDs,” said Captain Jorge Parra-Martinez, Commanding Officer of 19 Explosives Ordnance Disposal Flight. “We have teams from across the country here for this exercise, training to ensure we stay ready for this very real threat.”
IED disposal teams will take part in a wide range of scenarios during the exercise, all of them based on real life situations experienced by Canada and her allies in theatres of operations like Afghanistan. “We’re using very advanced equipment in realistic scenarios that reflect the complex environment in which we work while deployed,” said Warrant Officer Robert Selman, an Exercise Controller from 1 Canadian Air Division. “Readiness is vital; as IED experts you need to constantly train and keep up-to-date with your skills in order to match weapons that are themselves being constantly refined.”
While most of the exercise participants are members of the RCAF who specialize in air weapons, as experts in dealing with explosive devices, they are often deployed around the world to support army, navy or joint operations as well.