CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – Members of the U.S. 745th Ordnance Disposal Company, Multinational Battle Group East, performed joint training with the Kosovo Security Forces’ Explosive Ordnance Disposal team at the KSF’s EOD range in Ferizaj/Urosevac, Aug. 5.
The 745th’s role in the exercise was to mentor, offer advice and assist in training for the KSF’s EOD team, said a Soldier from the 745th, based in Grayling, Mich. However, both teams can learn much from each other, he added.
The scenario for the training involved the discovery of approximately 10 anti-personnel mines. The KSF in conjuction with KFOR EOD was called in and given the task of eliminating the threat caused by those mines.
As KFOR EOD looked on, two KSF members, dressed in protective gear, surveyed the site of the mines, which included inspecting the mines from a safe distance, making a sketch of the mines, taking notes on the appearance of the mines and photographing the site.
Following the site reconnaissance, the rest of the KSF EOD team positioned the mines in two separate holes and prepared to detonate them in place by placing plastic explosives
on the mines and running detonation cord to a safe location approximately 150 yards away. The KSF team also tested the electrical continuity of their circuits before plugging the blasting caps into the plastic explosives and returning to the safe zone.
Once the detonation sites were prepared and cleared, one member of the KSF EOD team yelled out, "Zjarr! Zjarr! Zjarr!" (Albanian for "Fire! Fire! Fire!") and set off the explosions, which sent debris flying into the air and raining down on the surrounding area.
"The actual explosives that the KSF use are different than what we use," said an EOD team member from the 745th, "but their techniques for testing their circuits, setting the charges and all the processes for a detonation like this are the same techniques we use. They’ve learned a lot of what they do from us and those guys definitely know what they’re doing."
In addition to EOD tasks, the KSF’s core capabilities include search and rescue, fire fighting and hazardous material removal operations. The KSF doesn’t only train with KFOR in these capabilities; they recently succeeded in performing these tasks in real-life situations, said Italian Brig. Gen. Salvatore Polimeno, the KFOR deputy chief of staff.
"We have already received basic training support from KFOR and will continue receiving more advanced training in a variety of fields," said KSF Maj. Gen. Kadri Kastrati, director of operations for the Ministry of the KSF, through a translator. "Success has already been shown. Very recently, we supported Albania in flood relief. We’ve also had recent success in demining and hazardous material removal."
"The KSF was stood up in January 2009 and the initial goal was to have them fully operationally capable within five years," Brig. Gen. Polimeno said. "We hope to achieve this soon, but it is important to keep in mind that the KSF’s training is capability-driven, not time-driven."
The eventual goal is for the KSF to reach full operational capability as a civil protection and humanitarian aid organization, so that they may provide security and assistance to all of the people in Kosovo, said Brig. Gen. Polimeno.