Home' Army News : July 5th 2012 Contents Army July 5, 2012
If you have an
to tell, get in touch
with Army and get
it in print.
by email at
Caught in the contact
The engineers in Afghanistan need to be able to
hold their own alongside the infantrymen in a
firefight, Cpl Mark Doran reports.
'WE HAD been patrolling
for just an hour when
the first shots rang out."
It was during a dis-
mounted clearance patrol with Mentoring
Team One and the Afghan National Army
(ANA) on March 22 when Cpl Cameron
Butler, of MTF 4's EOD Tp, started taking
Cpl Butler is part of a four-man team
based at Multinational Base Tarin Kot
which responds to IED finds.
The team's role for Combined
Team -- Uruzgan is to clear IEDs from
paths by making them safe or destroying
them when possible.
The patrol was in the Char Chineh
Valley, a remote area of Uruzgan province.
Cpl Butler said they had reasonably
good intelligence that insurgents were
observing the troops and preparing an
"When the contact kicked off we were
on the left flank with two infantry sections
on the right and we returned fire immedi-
ately to hold the enemy in their position,"
Cpl Butler said.
"We pushed ourselves forward while
the ASLAV moved into a position to give
us supporting fire."
The insurgents' sporadic fire gave
away their positions to the combat team
on the right flank, which continued to
engage the enemy as the engineers moved
The insurgents then fired a recoil-
less rifle round at the overwatch position,
which was on a cliff. The overwatch team
members were lucky not to be wounded
by the close explosion.
An air weapons team of two US
Apaches was called in and there were lulls
in the three-hour battle as the insurgents
hid until they moved away.
The insurgents then increased their rate
of aggressive fire with automatic weapons
and rocket-propelled grenades until the
Apaches returned with two A-10 Warthogs
in support, causing the enemy to flee.
"Once the insurgents had withdrawn
we pushed forward and continued on with
the task," he said.
"The first rounds were within 10m
of our position, which is the most accu-
rate fire I have seen before and led me to
believe they were full-time insurgents."
Cpl Butler said the engineers worked
well with the infantry and could blend in
as another fire team.
He deployed to Afghanistan with
MTF 1 in 2010 as an engineer mentor,
teaching the ANA how to find IEDs, and
ended the tour as an engineer search com-
Engineer search teams are responsible
for finding explosive ordnance and IEDs
before calling the EOD teams forward.
EOD teams do not just remove IEDs
-- they also dispose of munitions which
the insurgents could use against coali-
tion forces, Afghan forces and civilians
by destroying them in place or recovering
them for evidence.
Cpl Butler said the most interesting
challenges of working with another coun-
try's army were the cultural differences
combined with the language barrier.
"I suppose you find that soldiers across
the world are relatively similar so we find
a lot of common ground with the Afghan
soldiers as we work with them to achieve
our missions," he said.
"Recently we were patrolling the
Mirabad Valley and noticed areas we were
hesitant to patrol in earlier because of the
threats from IEDs and small-arms fire are
now a lot safer and have Afghan police
checkpoints along the route.
"Our area of influence appears to be
spreading as the locals would be happy to
see us and come out to say hello.
"It's a good feeling because it seems
we are making Afghanistan safer."
Beating the bombs: MTF 4 EOD Tp from left, Cpl Cameron Butler, clearance diver PO Justin
Ramanauskas, Pte Shane Pirkins and Spr Haron Sarmiento, display a selection of ordnance and
weapons found during their deployment.
Photo by Cpl Mark Doran
Links Archive June 21st 2012 July 19th 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page