The Army National Guard is investigating whether a member of an explosive ordnance disposal unit killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in October was appropriately trained and equipped prior to his deployment, the New York Times reports.
- Spc. James A. Slape, a 23-year-old EOD tech assigned to the 430th Ordnance Company of the North Carolina National Guard, was killed on Oct. 4 in Afghanistan's Helmand Province as a result of an improvised explosive device blast.
- According to documents obtained by the New York Times and reported on Oct. 23, a number of 'oversights' by Slape's unit may have contributed to his death, including the repeated use of patrol routes for daily operations.
- The most recent New York Times Times story, published on Dec. 7, suggests that the 430th may have been chronically underequipped even prior to their deployment to Afghanistan, citing unnamed Pentagon officials who said the company “repeatedly asked for, but did not receive, certain training courses and equipment before its deployment that are considered standard for the company’s active-duty bomb-disposal counterparts.”
- Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Wes Parmer confirmed to both the New York Times and Army Times that the Guard has initiated an AR 15-6 investigation “into the training and equipping of the 430th EOD Company for their mobilization and deployment to Afghanistan.”
- But as Army Times points out, the Guard's October statement on the 430th stated that the unit was “trained and ready” for its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, having “received all required pre-mobilization training in addition to specialized training the unit requested prior to going on Title 10 Active Duty.”
- The Guard investigation is currently ongoing.
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