EOD Soldiers train on ATVs for mission readiness
Story by: Katherine Rosario
1st Inf. Div. Post
Six Soldiers from the 84th Explosive Ordinance Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, stood on the left side of their all-terrain vehicles Dec. 16 in full battle gear, ready to learn how to ride the vehicles in mission settings.
The first training of its kind, the Garrison Safety Office provided the battalion with a trainer to train them on the basics of riding an ATV with limited range-of-motion because of their gear.
Sgt. Wesley Sanders, 84th EOD Bn., one of the Soldiers learning how to operate the ATV, said the ATV could take the place of numerous Soldiers walking in a line across a field looking for unexploded devices.
"The ATV can do any number of things from clearing ranges quicker and with less manpower, to transporting equipment someone would normally have to carry," Sanders said.
Rod Cruz, Garrison Safety Office installation safety manager, said because the mission is always changing from desert to mountains during a deployment, some vehicles currently being used wear down quicker because they cannot withstand the rough terrains.
"Right now, we don't know what the mission will require, and we have started using ATVs as a way to cut down on the Soldiers needed to carry out a task," Cruz said.
ATVs are able to get into the smaller trails and pathways Soldiers need to go and can lend a hand when it comes to hauling equipment, he said.
"Some of the highly equipped big vehicles we have can't go into the smaller places the Soldiers may need to enter when looking to detonate a bomb. This is where the ATV comes in handy," he said.
Cruz said the main purpose of training the Soldiers on ATVs with full battle gear on is to get them used to how the ATV handles with more weight and restricted maneuvering room.
"Now they have an alternate way to get around and dispose of (undetonated) items rather than walking in a line," he said.
ATVs also can be used on post at the ranges to practice going out to locate an unexploded device, Cruz said.
"The EOD Soldiers can use the ranges to practice on before they deploy, so they are ready for any type of mission," he said.
"This is the first time we've done this type of training, and hopefully we've helped the unit prepare for any missions that may arise.
"Whenever we can train Soldiers on different equipment and have them in full battle rattle to simulate an actual mission, we take advantage of it," Cruz said.