Moroccan state partners observe Utah Guard landmine removal training

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Annie Edwards
  • 151 ARW/PA
Two members of the Moroccan Military, serving as delegates through the State Partnership Program, spent three days observing training events and demonstrations put on by their Utah Army and Air National Guard counterparts at the Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base and Camp Williams, April 7-9.

During their visit to Utah, the Moroccan delegates spent time with explosive ordnance technicians from the Air Guard's 151st Civil Engineering Squadron. The delegates also attended a presentation taught by a civilian contractor about how the Army trains Soldiers to deal with improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance.

The visit culminated in the observation of a training exercise conducted at the IED Training Lane at Camp Williams during which a simulated landmine was found in a village. Engineers from the Army's 1457th Engineer Battalion responded to the incident and called in Air Guard EOD assets to remove the hazard.

2nd Lt. Corey Lewis, training officer with 1457th, said this training event was very beneficial for the Guardsmen because it provided them an opportunity to improve their job skills while working with individuals from another branch of service.

Additionally, the opportunity to participate in the State Partnership Program brought a different perspective to the training event.

"We get to work closely with the Moroccan delegation that is here and demonstrate some of our capabilities and through a question and answer session, we both benefit from each other by lessons learned," said Lewis.

Master Sgt. Timothy Edwards, an EOD technician with the 151st EOD Flight, has put on demonstrations of EOD capabilities for past delegation visits, but said this visit was different for his flight because of the discussion following the training event.

"The opportunity to hear another country's approach to dealing with UXO was interesting," said Edwards. "It can be beneficial for us to hear a new perspective."

The State Partnership Program, first established in 1993, links a state's National Guard with armed forces from a partner nation and includes 68 security partnerships involving 74 nations. These partnerships provide the opportunity to create cooperative, mutually beneficial relationships.

Utah National Guard members have been working with their Moroccan counterparts since 2003.