New York National Guard and Brazilian Army Carry Out Explosive Devices Neutralization Experience Exchange

New York National Guard and Brazilian Army Carry Out Explosive Devices Neutralization Experience Exchange

By Andréa Barretto / Diálogo
November 06, 2019

The activity was conducted as part of the partnership Brazil and the United States established in early 2019, through the State Partnership Program.

EOD, which stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, is an acronym used worldwide to refer to the location, identification, and neutralization of unexploded ordnances, such as explosive artifacts, ammunitions, or weapons of mass destruction. The subject was at the center of an exchange between the New York National Guard (NYNG) and cadets from the Brazilian Army’s Agulhas Negras Military Academy (AMAN, in Portuguese), as part of the Mine Action and Deactivation of Explosive Devices Internship. The activity was conducted at the Brazilian Army’s (EB, in Portuguese) Engineering Center, in Araguari, Minas Gerais state, September 2-5, 2019.

For the first time, a U.S. team joined EB’s Engineering Training Center as part of its group of instructors. The State Partnership Program established in March 2019, between the Brazilian Armed Forces and NYNG, made the participation of the U.S. team possible. The U.S. Department of Defense State Partnership Program, launched in 1993, links a state National Guard with a partner nation’s armed or public forces to build relationships and facilitate cooperation through military engagements and experience exchange.

EOD in theory and practice

During the field exercise, foreign instructors evaluated students’ maneuvers. The instructors shared real-life experiences operating in conflict zones like Afghanistan. (Photo: Brazilian Army’s Agulhas Negras Military Academy)

The internship started with theoretical classes. Some of the topics included treaties and international standards, pre-hospital care for victims of explosions, and security measures.

The NYNG instructors talked about their experiences. They demonstrated specific knowledge on the EOD field, which differs from humanitarian de-mining in that the latter is carried out in a post-conflict context to make territories safer for daily life, such as to allow schools to reopen, refugees to return home, and lands to be reused for farming.

“They mainly talked about the techniques, tactics, and procedures of combat engineer teams specialized in EOD, and explained the organization of EOD teams during international conflicts,” said Major João de Deus José Nunes Neto, lead instructor at EB’s Engineering Training Center.

During the field exercise, students faced several simulated threats and operated based on lessons learned. “The idea was for a controlled exercise in which we had to advance through a route. During the troops’ movements, several mishaps were planned, such as booby traps and explosives,” said Cadet Matheus Borba Silva, one of the AMAN students who participated in the internship.

When the students stopped to conduct reconnaissance or device deactivation, Brazilian and U.S. instructors observed and provided instant evaluation, pointing out mistakes and successes. “The stories service members of the New York National Guard shared were the most interesting for me, because they spoke from experience in real operations, such as Afghanistan,” Cadet Borba said.

The group of senior engineering students in their final year at AMAN, was the second to earn an EOD operations specialization. The first group of students was formed in 2018, also at EB’s Engineering Training Center.