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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – More than 50 leaders from every route clearance unit across Afghanistan converged at Bagram Airfield to hold the first route clearance shura, May 10.
The shura, an Afghan term for meeting, was hosted by the Joint Force Engineer Command’s Explosive Hazards Coordination Cell, and was designed to share current tactics, techniques and procedures used in the various regions of the country and to display the latest equipment available for route clearance units.
The EHCC is a counter IED organization that focuses on route clearance.
“This is a culminating event for what the EHCC has been in country for,” said U.S. Army Capt. William Yount, EHCC operations officer and Columbus, Ohio native. “This is a peek right before the high point of the fighting season.”
“We can bring in all the (route clearance platoon) folks and cross-pollinate TTPs and information,” he continued. “Also, it allows them to ask poignant questions to the smart guys in the counter IED world on how they can make their operations better. Let them take that back to insert it into their planning process to make them more productive on the battle field.”
Army, Marine, Air Force and French army route clearance personnel all collaborated on how each organization operates and how to incorporate the best concepts into each battle plan.
“In our (area of operation) we have six Marine teams, but we also have six Army teams so it’s good to be one the same page with everyone else,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Alec Williamson, the route clearance planer with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and Rockville, Md. native. “When it comes to route clearance, the only difference is the acronyms for the different services.”
The participants received detailed information and demonstrations on the latest equipment and robotics available for route clearance units in Afghanistan by Explosive Ordnance Disposal and equipment experts.
“For me this is an introduction to all the equipment available for my guys in theather,” said U.S. Army Capt. Marty Davidson, 287th Engineer Company commander, headquartered in Lucedale, Miss., who arrived in Afghanistan less than two weeks ago. “A lot of this equipment is brand new and not available for training in the U.S., so this is a great way to stay current on what is being used in theater.”
There are plans in the works for another route clearance shura in the fall.
Dignitaries in attendance were U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William T. Grisoli, deputy commanding general for Civil and Emergency operations, United States Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. William M. Buckler Jr., Joint Force Engineer Command commander.
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