U.S. Soldiers prepare Kenyan army to teach counter-IED procedures
A team of U.S. Army soldiers from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa recently concluded a month-long operation teamed with the Kenyan army to develop a counter-improvised-explosive-device training program for East African militaries.
Drawing on their own experiences and training, the three-man team partnered with soldiers from the Kenyan army to share information with four classes of service members from several East African nations including Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Comoros and Uganda.
“When we first started, the student instructors didn’t know what the term IED stood for,” said U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Joshua Moore, mission commander. “But by the time we were finished, they were teaching the classes pretty much entirely on their own. We were able to sit back and only assist if needed.”
According to Moore, the initial class was comprised of 20 Kenyan soldiers, eight of whom were selected to remain at the training facility to teach their fellow Africans the curriculum. After the first week, each class was made up of about 45 soldiers from various branches of each nation’s military. Each week also saw the Kenyan instructors leading more of the instruction.
The course, which was held at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi, consisted of five days of learning, half of which was spent in an academic environment and the other half conducting practical exercises. Initially, the students learned to identify an improvised explosive device and took an abbreviated first aid course focusing on wounds commonly suffered in IED attacks, Moore said.
As the week progressed, the focus shifted to foot patrols and vehicle-borne operations, IED recognition, reaction procedures and basic demolition. As a culmination to the course, the students prepared and employed a small, simple explosive charge.
“The purpose of the demolition was to allow them to see how the skills they learned really do work,” Moore said.
In total 149 African service members had graduated the course. The lessons they learned could potentially save hundreds, if not thousands of lives, Moore said, adding, “In today’s warfare IEDs are becoming a huge threat because they’re extremely cheap and effective. So it’s important for every army to learn counter-IED procedures.”