LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Thirty-eight service members, including individuals from the 944th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal section, participated in a Battlefield Forensics training course here at the end of June.
Together, Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Hunter, 944th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD program manager and Joshua Nason, General Dynamics Information Technology senior specialist with the Battlefield Forensics Mobile Training Team, leveraged a total force integration concept by bringing together various services to participate in the training, which taught site exploitation and technical intelligence gathering on the battlefield.
“I brought the training to the 944th EOD because of their existing skill set acquired through 14 plus years of improvised explosive device experience,” said Nason who is also a staff sergeant in the 944th Fighter Wing. “They are a great beneficiary of the Battlefield Forensics training because of their intimate knowledge of IEDs and weapons, as well as their accessibility to the collection of battlefield forensics.”
The training included both Air Force active duty and Reserve EOD members from Luke, Andrews and Davis-Monthan Air Force Bases as well as members from the U.S. Army and Transportation Security Agency (TSA). The course provides individuals with the knowledge of what material and information to gather and how to do it effectively for analysis and intelligence gathering in a battlefield setting.
The first four days of the five-day course consisted of PowerPoint presentations and hands-on training, including how to take fingerprints and taking pictures of and collecting sensitive material in field scenarios. The week concluded with a daylong scenario where the participants applied what they learned throughout the course investigating the scene after an EOD detonation.
“We appreciate Staff Sgt. Nason’s commitment and efforts in leveraging this TFI concept and are grateful to him and the rest of the instructors for their help,” said Hunter. “We are accustomed to our one perspective and this gave us a chance to see the battlefield forensic process from start to finish with an end result.”
Mallory Miller, Doug Napier and Frank Esparza were part of the General Dynamics Information Technology team of instructors teaching the class along with Nason.
“Organizing this training couldn’t have been more seamless,” said Nason. “Senior Master Sgt. Hunter put in a lot of effort to partner with his active duty EOD counterparts at the 56th Fighter Wing as well as Davis-Monthan. They work and train so closely together that it was difficult to distinguish between the active duty and Reservists. All of the Airman were professional and brought a significant amount of knowledge and experience to the training. Their dedication to the mission was evident. I feel as though they gained new knowledge on how to expand their capabilities, and added additional skills to their ‘toolkit.’”
The Battlefield Forensic course is contracted through the U.S. Army servicing primarily U.S. soldiers. The organization is housed out of the Weapons Intelligence Course at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.