MORóN AIR BASE, Spain -- Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa explosive ordnance disposal Marines conducted bilateral explosives training with EOD members of the Spanish Second Air Support Deployment Squadron (SEADA) at Morón Air Base, Spain, June 20, 2017.
The single detonation that was demonstrated was approximately four pounds of Spanish dynamite, along with solid-based propellants, and Spanish C-4, placed in a recently constructed enclave of metal, reinforced with several hundred pounds of dirt around the entire detonation site.
This training held many firsts for SPMAGTF-CR-AF EOD Marines and SEADA EOD personnel.
Warrant Officer Dan Pare, the EOD officer-in-charge for the SPMAGTF-CR-AF goes on to explain how this training was the first time sanctioned demolitions training took place at Morón Air Base. It was also the first time U.S. and Spanish personnel took part in demolition training together on base, and the first time in two years SPMAGTF-CR-AF EOD personnel trained with SEADA EOD personnel.
“We’ve been trying to build a bridge between the [SPMAGTF-CR-AF] EOD and the Spanish EOD to conduct joint training and also trying to find a demolition range that’s closer than Rota or Sierra Del Retin,” said Pare.
The bilateral training came as an almost direct result of SPMAGTF-CR-AF hosting a static displays capabilities brief for SEADA at the SPMAGTF-CR-AF headquarters building several weeks earlier.
“Everything seemed to go pretty well [at the static display capabilities brief],” said Pare. “A few days later we received a call from the SEADA EOD and they requested we attend a live-fire demolition range with them because they were just authorized to start using explosives on Morón for training.”
Pare was an observer throughout the one-day evolution noting the procedures, practices, and materials their Spanish EOD counterparts used.
“Today was interesting to see EOD personnel, who had not been through the U.S. EOD program, work,” said Pare. “It was methodical. Their TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures) are very similar to ours-- their attention to detail in relation to safe conduct on the range, making sure that they’re not putting personnel in harm’s way while they’re doing live-fire. They take many of the same steps to mitigate operational risk that we do,” said Pare.
The training was more than explosions and observations, it was also an establishment of trust and dependability between host nation and guest.
“Part of our job out here is theater-security cooperation through military to military exchanges and training,” said Pare. “This is a stepping stone for us and SEADA EOD. It will, hopefully, build a [stronger] relationship with them where if we have a gap in our training, or [with] our equipment, they’d be able to help us out and vice versa. It’s only going to make our two agencies better.”
Along with the need for bilateral training and understanding, another portion of the training was to reassure America that her Marines are staying vigilant and ready.
“It’s piece of mind that we’re staying ready to answer a crisis, or contingency, that may come up,” said Pare. “It’s also a chance for us to be ambassadors to one of our allied partner countries. If we can be good neighbors, whether it be offering training, or facilitating training, it goes a long way in making allies and keeping allies.”