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UK explosive ordnance disposal
course for EAF

By Lt. Col. Iain Stuart James
First published in
SFOR Informer #74


Twenty nine officers and soldiers from all three components of the BiH Entity Armed Forces attended a 3 week course at the United Kingdom Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal School (DEODS), Chatham, Kent from 24 October to 12 November. The students were all involved with EAF demining teams, either as team members, supervisors or staff. The course was intended to be a 'Train the Trainer' course to give the EAF to capability to train deminers in basic EOD techniques, in order to be able safely to dispose of unexploded ordnance (UXO) encountered during mineclearing operations. These typically take place over former confrontation lines heavily contaminated with both mines and UXO.

The course was sponsored and funded by the UK Government, and consisted of three phases. First a week of instruction in identification and classification of typical ordnance likely to be encountered in Bosnia, and associated disposal techniques. Instruction was also given in the disposal of bulk ammunition, which will be invaluable for the EAF in the management of its ammunition storage facilities. The second week concentrated on methods of instruction, and teaching practices, in order that the students can act as a pool of instructors on return to Bosnia. The final week brought together all of the lessons, in a series of practical exercises.

The students came from a cross section of EAF units, (12 VF-B, 9 VRS and 8 VF-H) ranking from private to lieutenant colonel. The course traveled to the UK together, and were similarly all accommodated in the same hotel. During the course, the students were also mixed between instructional groups, and carried out practical exercises together. The UK instructors were all impressed by the willingness of the students both to learn new techniques, and to exchange ideas and lessons from their own experience in Bosnia. This course is the culmination of a series of courses given to the EAF during the summer. Earlier in the year deminers from each component were given a one week course in basic EOD techniques, run by HQ SFOR Countermines/EOD staff, in order to improve the efficiency of demining operations. The combination of these courses, particularly for those students who attended the UK sponsored DEODS course, means that EAF now has some of the best trained national EOD personnel in the Bosnia.

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