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CJTF-HOA Marines observe FBI training with Djiboutian Police Force

By Cpl. Adam C. Schnell | | March 1, 2004

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Eyes and ears were wide open as a team of FBI bomb technicians taught Marines and students from the Djiboutian National Police Force about improvised explosive devices here Feb. 24.

Twelve Marines from K Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, the force protection providers for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, observed in U.S.-funded classes to teach learn Djiboutian Police to better identify IEDs and the danger they can create.

The Marines were invited to the class because of their force protection role in searching vehicles before they pass through the gates of Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, where CJTF-HOA forces are stationed. Their job is to keep the base safe by inspecting vehicles for IEDs and other tools of terrorism.

“We see a lot of vehicles each day, and this type of training really helps us to not get complacent in our jobs,” said Lance Cpl. Eddie Ryan, an infantryman whose daily duties are composed of searching vehicles as they reach the entry control point aboard Camp Lemonier.

Ryan, an Ellenville, N.Y., native also said they learned that IEDs can be made out of and look like anything. The knowledge he and his fellow Marines received will help them to keep the base a little safer in the future. 

Providing more knowledge about vehicle-born IEDs and what can happen if they are deployed properly was Special Agent Eric Morefield, bomb technician for the FBI. Morefield, along with three other team members from the bureau, built devices out of materials readily available to terrorists.

Morefield said he wanted to instill in all the students that IEDs can be made out of anything with a little explosives. He also wanted to show the damage that can occur when IEDs are employed correctly.

“I think it really opened the Marines eyes to how easy it is for a terrorist to hide a vehicle-born IED,” said Marine Capt. Edward J. Healey, company commander for company.

The Worcester, Mass., native said even though the Marines have only been aboard Camp Lemonier a few weeks, he wants to make sure they don’t become complacent in their jobs.

“It really taught them what could happen if they don’t do their jobs,” said Healey. “In this case, complacency can kill.”

The hours of training the Marines participated in was both a refresher and an eye-opener, but for students from the police academy here it was part of two-week course given to them. The program provided basic terrorism crime scene investigation techniques like crime scene security and proper evidence collection.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the FBI here,” said Djiboutian National Police Force Lt. Abdillahi Ibrahim, training officer for the academy. “I think all the police forces here need this training.”

Ibrahim, who received basic explosive disposal training in Baton Rouge, La., also said he was very impressed by the Marines’ interest in training with the academy. It shows the United States is sincere about making Djibouti a safer place.

“This was a great way to build relations with the Djiboutian police,” said Marine 1st Sgt. Joseph D. Shaw, company first sergeant for K Company.

The infantry company is open to joint training with the Djiboutian police in the future, said Shaw. Both sides will benefit greatly by learning from each other.

“It would be a pleasure training with the Marines in the future,” said Ibrahim. “We can learn a lot from the Marines because we need the experience to gain knowledge.”

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