Utah National Guard begins IED demolition training

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UTAH COUNTY -- An explosion echoed through Camp Williams Monday afternoon after the Utah National Guard’s 1475th engineer battalion cleared a wire obstacle from a roadway. Engineers, known as sappers, remove enemy barriers on a daily basis during wartime.

“They put out a wire obstacle for us not to get to their position and so our job is to come in use an explosive means to destroy that obstacle so that we can take over the enemy and defeat them,” said Capt. Ryan Becker, Commander of the 118th Sapper Company.

To do that smoke is sent out to hide troops from the enemy. Then sappers plant an improvised explosive devise or I.E.D.

“What that does it is it blows the wire apart creates a lane that we can assault through with armory or forces,” Said Lt. Col. Michael Turley, Commander of the 1457 Engineer Battalion.

Becker said this scenario is similar to what troops see in Iraq and Afghanistan on a daily basis and that it's vital for sappers to sharpen their skills.

“When it comes to a full combined arms mission, this mission we call breeching is as dangerous as it gets,” Becker said.

This exercise kicks off the National Guards annual training. They will be sharpening their skills for the next two weeks.