New group of Operation UNIFIER combat engineers carry on explosive disposal training

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Article / September 14, 2016

By: a Joint Task Force-Ukraine Combat Engineer

Shortly after arriving in Ukraine in August 2016, a new team of Canadian Combat Engineer instructors began putting their Ukrainian partners through their paces during the Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) Advanced course. The course is focused on NATO-standard reporting procedures and forensic preservation and collection. It also incorporates a simulated high-risk training environment with increasingly complex scenarios.

“Ukrainian Armed Forces participants have been extremely receptive to the instruction of Canadian personnel,” said a Canadian Combat Engineer Master Corporal and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal trainer. “Day by day, we are seeing significant and steady improvement in their skills and drills.”

Upon graduation, many of these soldiers will deploy to zones of operation where their newly-refined abilities will have a direct impact on both their and their partners’ ability to move and survive.

Upon completing the first IEDD Advanced course, the group began teaching a second one with no time to waste. This second course marked a significant milestone: the integration of two Ukrainian instructors into the training staff. These Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) instructors were candidates from the previous course who showed a high level of understanding of IEDD techniques and knowledge. This milestone marks the beginning of a shift to self-sustainment in IEDD training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“After a period of shadowing Canadian Armed Forces personnel, Ukrainian soldiers will begin to take the lead during formal classroom instruction, as well as during practical training and assessment,” said Captain Andrew Harper, an Engineering Officer with Joint Task Force-Ukraine. “The Ukrainian Armed Forces instructors will have the opportunity to oversee new operators, ensuring they are following the procedures they have been taught, and providing detailed debriefs after each scenario to ensure all participants receive the maximum training value every time a scenario is run.”

The integration of UAF members into the instructional fold will also help alleviate some of the linguistic challenges of working through a translator. A win-win situation, Canadian Combat Engineers will continue to shift from an instructional to mentorship role in the area of IEDD training as the Operation UNIFIER mission progresses.

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