By Jennifer M. McCarthy
Special to American Forces Press Service
April 11, 2008 - Federal and state law enforcement personnel joined servicemembers at the explosive ordnance range here April 9 for a vehicle bomb demonstration. FBI agents based in New York and New Jersey, New Jersey State Police, Defense Department police, and Army and Air Force personnel saw a large box truck, a sport utility vehicle, two sedans, and a minivan ripped asunder by explosives and sent soaring into the air.
The vehicles were rigged with controlled explosive devices detonated as part of a week-long joint training course that helped hone the law enforcement officials' skills in the tools and techniques used to identify and neutralize vehicle bombs.
As well as allowing participants a chance to earn a certificate from the FBI Bomb Data Center, the course provided real-world experience, particularly to soldiers and airmen deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The training was good. It is useful in principle," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Bramble of the 305th Civil Engineer Squadron's explosive ordnance disposal flight. Bramble recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan. "This training is geared towards populated areas," he said. "It decreases collateral damage."
Terrorists have adopted vehicle bombs as a prominent weapon of choice, but they are not a new tactic. One of the earliest uses of a car bomb was the attempted assassination of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in Istanbul in 1905 by Armenian separatists. Since then, terrorist groups have used vehicle bombs as a way to try to cause chaos and destruction.
Don Breecre, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and environmental bomb technician, said the Fort Dix demonstration was "a chance for bomb techs, EOD, to train on the tools we use to defeat vehicle bombs."
"Perfect practice makes perfect," he said.
(Jennifer M. McCarthy works at Fort Dix Public Affairs.)