AL-ASAD, Iraq --
AL-ASAD, Iraq – One of the best ways for Marines in al-Anbar Province to battle improvised explosive devices is to go out and plant mock IEDs of their own.
Nineteen Marines from all over the area of operations recently attended the Counter IED Train-the-Trainer’s course here from Aug. 19 – 21. Representatives from infantry and logistics battalions attended the course, which was designed by the CIED Training Team from Task Force Troy, Multi National Corps – Iraq.
“Having them place ‘IEDs’ gets them to think like an insurgent, so they know indicators they can look for when they’re out on patrols,” said Capt. Christian R. Johnson, officer in charge of the course.
The course consisted of classroom instruction and field instruction. Classroom time covered enemy tactics, techniques and procedures based on the region. Marines then spent time in the field planting mock-IEDs along a specified route that other Marines would try to find prior to making contact with them.
“It’s important to provide (service members) in the area with the most up-to-date CIED info they can have,” said Johnson, 24, Rockford, Ill. He said the course provides IED information from across the whole AO. Graduates from the course can then teach an area specific class, with their information varying depending on their current location.
“They can pull TTPs for that area, and if there’s a new type of IED that they don’t see out there, we can expose them to it,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Lejay R. Colborn, 37, Gulf Breeze, Fla., explosive ordnance disposal technician, CIED. Colborn and Johnson explained that CIED constantly updates enemy TTPs.
This information provides Marines on the ground with a distinct edge over the insurgency who is finding new ways to build explosive devices all the time.
“There’re some (insurgent) specialists out there,” said Sgt. Wesley A. Laney, squad leader, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division.
“If you’re only out there looking for 155 mm rounds, you’re going to miss the crazy stuff,” said Laney, 25, Charleston, S.C. “The crazy stuff is what they’re using to target Coalition Forces.” Laney talked about insurgents once using a syringe to trigger an IED.
Instructors explained to the students that insurgents will place “hoax” IEDs, which oftentimes look run-of-the-mill, in order to distract the eye from something newer and nastier. With CIED’s cutting edge information system, the new, crazy stuff becomes old news fast, and more often Marines aren’t patrolling streets blind.
“(Without this class) we would become a softer target, the casualty rate would go up, and insurgents would become emboldened and push the envelope,” said Colborn.
Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 1st Marine Logistics Group, introduced the incoming Marines of CLB-2 to the course and its benefits. In seven months, CLB-6 had only one vehicle take a direct hit by an IED. There were no casualties.
It looks like Marines here have become hard targets, thanks to a little help from CIED.