ARCHIVED - Improvised explosive device disposal training in Comox Valley

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News Article / March 19, 2015

By Major Mary Lee

Canadian Armed Forces Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) experts from across Canada gathered in the Comox Valley, British Columbia, recently to conduct training aimed at honing their skills in safely disposing of explosives.

Exercise Taz-Runner, an annual two-week training exercise, was an opportunity to challenge the skill sets of military Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel in realistic scenarios.

Teams from the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) assembled at 19 Wing Comox, and 50 personnel took part in a number of scenarios at various locations on the base and in the Comox Valley. The goal of this exercise was to improve proficiency and interoperability with other military units through exposure to realistic and increasingly difficult IEDD scenarios.

“Given the number of recent advances in EOD technology, it is important for our members to train constantly with this equipment to ensure that they can use it to its maximum effect in order to simulate working in dynamic and complex urban environments,” said Lieutenant Edward Jensen, 19 Explosives Disposal Flight commander. “Explosives technology is evolving and our personnel need to ensure that they will be ready to meet the challenge [explosives] pose, regardless of where in the world we are called upon to deploy.”

The training involved scenarios designed to test abilities in finding, identifying and defeating IEDs, and the training was put to the test in a real-time situation that played out at 19 Wing Headquarters Building on February 23, 2015, when a suspicious package was found in the mail room.

The building was quickly evacuated and secured so that EOD experts could retrieve the package. The package was neutralized without incident; a forensic investigation deemed the contents to be non-threating and benign.

“The timing of a real incident during our training week was uncanny but proved to be a valuable opportunity to demonstrate our expertise in handling suspicious objects,” said Chief Petty Officer First Class Rob DeProy, Chief of Joint Counter Explosive Threat Taskforce Ottawa. “When it comes to public safety, we leave nothing to chance, and in today’s threat climate, we must always be vigilant. We train the way we fight.”

Many of the exercise participants are members of the RCAF who specialize in air weapons; however, as experts in dealing with explosive devices, they are often deployed around the world to support army, navy or joint operations as well.

This article was first published on March 3, 2015, in the 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, Totem Times newspaper.


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