U.S. Navy Leads HMATT With Kenyan Army
U.S. Navy Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Six led a Humanitarian Mine Action Train the Trainer Program with Kenyan Army EOD Combat Engineers Jan. 15 to Feb. 5, 2013, at the Humanitarian Peace Support School, Nairobi, Kenya.
The purpose of the program is to strengthen Kenya's institutional capabilities by training future instructors so they can instruct other members from their respective units in the knowledge they learned.
"We have been having problems down[range] with our troops," said Kenyan Army Senior Sergeant Simon Orinda, instructor. "Our troops out there are coming across different munitions they have never used before so this class is helping [them] identify munitions and chemicals they never used and at the same time destroying them."
Training was accomplished through slides and discussion in the classroom.
"We covered EOD identification, fuse functioning, improvised explosive device functioning, long-range and close-encounter reconnaissance training," said Petty Officer 1st Class Chad Hovde, EOD team leader. "We also went to the demolition range and did some mitigation techniques, training to prevent fragmentation, taking care of fuse wells and ordnance clearing.
"Slides outlined safe practices, how to approach the ordnance, and how to keep safe during an unexploded ordnance incident," said Hovde. "We would then place items in a field and observe during the practical exercise."
Another Kenyan instructor said the training will also enable them to better perform tasks they're already familiar with.
"It's quite interesting and very encouraging because the integration of Kenyan and American instructors was very healthy since the American instructors came, they taught information to us," said Kenyan Army Senior Sergeant Justus Kavulanya, instructor. "They gave us the ideas to enhance our performance and application of our teachings."
The program not only strengthens the partnership between the U.S. and Kenya, it helps Kenya to be more self-reliant in future operations.
"Some of the safety techniques we taught, they'll go and teach other guys who are deploying into a combat zone, and they'll be able to save not only themselves but the people they are working with," said Hovde, a St. Paul, Minn., native.
"The instructors from Horn of Africa have done us very good because some of the things we didn't know how to go about before, but now someone like me has the confidence," said Orinda.
In order to graduate from the course, attendees had to pass two written tests and two practical tests.
Orinda said upon completion of the course, future instructors will undergo three months of field practicals, followed by three to four months time off at their units. Then, the school will follow up with the students assessing how they are instructing others to ensure the knowledge is being shared.
To help further the training at the students' home unit, every participant has a disc with the slideshows presented and workbooks. Each soldier also was given a disc with pictures taken through the duration of the training to use as visual aids when they host their own class. "I've learned a lot from this course," said Sergeant Chelanagat Belion and first female combat engineer in the Kenyan Army.
EOD Mobile Unit Six is deployed from Virginia Beach, Va., in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
The Humanitarian Mine Action Train the Trainer Program is an ongoing program and training is planned to continue in Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.