MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Members of the Fightertown Explosive Ordnance Disposal team attended Multi-Crab II, a joint-service training exercise at Fort Jackson, March 26-31.
Fightertown's EOD was joined by the Air Force’s 20th EOD Flight from Shaw Air Force Base, members of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Army's 748th Ordnance Company from Fort Jackson, who hosted the event.
Multi-Crab allows different EOD teams an opportunity for joint training to focus on combating various improvised explosive devices that may be encountered in the war on terrorism, according to Gunnery Sgt. Aden Morones, the staff commissioned officer-in-charge of EOD here.
"The scenarios were realistic and allowed us to practice safely for real-world events," said Staff Sgt. Raymond Lombard, an EOD technician here. "This is as real as training gets stateside."
Veteran members from each team had a hand in designing the many IED scenarios that the participants faced and served as evaluators and mentors throughout the training evolution.
"The training was run by the Army, but evaluators from each team worked together to make the scenarios as realistic as possible," Morones said. "The scenarios were geared toward current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but may also apply to homeland security situations."
Some of the scenarios included suicide vests, vehicle-borne and roadside IEDs.
The participants started in their own teams, but were integrated with the other teams throughout the week to allow them a chance to see how the other teams worked through scenarios.
Working with the different services is nothing new for EOD since they train together at a joint-service military occupational school.
Teams rested at the mock forward operating base until they received a report describing the next scenario. The participants then rushed to the incident and set up a safe area from which they could control their operations.
When the teams appeared on the scene, the evaluators acted as the agency that reported the IED. The teams then handled the scenario on their own, receiving feedback only after the event had ended.
"The teams were free to handle the missions as they saw fit," Morones explained. "To keep training realistic, there were no time-outs or interference from the evaluators."
When Multi-Crab was over, the Marines went home with a broader experience of various improvised explosive devices and enhanced their skills with the PackBot, a lightweight ordnance handling robot, according to Morones.
"The Marines performed in a decisive and professional manner both in their own team and among the other services," said Army Capt. Michael Ricciardi, the commanding officer of the 748th Ordnance Company. "If it wasn't for their support or the support of the other services, training on this level would not be possible."