Real-life incident puts military training exercise to the test at 19 Wing

Suspicious package discovered at the 19 Wing mail room

  • Feb. 25, 2015 2:00 p.m.

Erin Haluschak

Record Staff

A practice demonstration quickly turned to real life, as CFB Comox’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team helped neutralize a suspicious package Monday morning at the base’s mail room.

Emergency response aided in cordoning off the building and surrounding area, explained Maj. Mary Lee, 19 Wing’s public affairs officer.

Coincidentally, the EOD experts from across the Canadian Armed Forces are at the base to test their skill set around improvised explosive devices during a two-week exercise which began Feb. 16.

They held a training session off-base at the Comox Fire Department Tuesday morning as part of Exercise Taz Runner.

“It’s quite uncanny timing,” added Lee. “Even if the timing was a coincidence, we need to always be vigilant.”

“Situations do happen, and the EOD teams know exactly what to do.”

Around 10:45 a.m., an unmarked package was brought to the attention of military staff to take immediate action and evacuate the building.

The package was hard to track and didn’t have any identifying addresses, which raised a red flag for staff, noted Lee.

The EOD team neutralized the package, and following a forensic investigation, it was deemed the content to be non-threatening and benign.

Lee explained it’s incidents like this that highlight the need for training, for both internal and external threats.

“It’s a new environment where warfare exists,” she said.

“Anywhere is susceptible to incidents, and it’s necessary to be vigilant, and train the way we fight.”

• • •

Fifty members from the navy, army and air force are participating in Exercise Taz Runner, with the goal to improve proficiency and interoperability with other military units through exposure to difficult Improvised Explosive Device Disposal.

“Explosive technology is evolving and our personnel need to ensure they will be ready to meet the challenge they pose, regardless of where in the world we are called upon to deploy,” said Lt. Edward Jensen, 19 explosives disposal flight commander in a press release.

Many of the participants are members of the RCAF who specialize in air weapons, however, as experts in dealing with explosive devices, they are often deployed around the world to support army, navy or joint operations as well.


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