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Cmdr. Ingvar Krist Jansson, second from right, and Cmdr. Gylfi Geirisson, right, both of the Icelandic Coast Guard, critique two U.S. sailors who have just dismantled a bomb during Northern Challenge 2003.

Cmdr. Ingvar Krist Jansson, second from right, and Cmdr. Gylfi Geirisson, right, both of the Icelandic Coast Guard, critique two U.S. sailors who have just dismantled a bomb during Northern Challenge 2003. (Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

Dealing with one of terrorists' most deadly weapons — improvised explosives — was the focus of a three-day exercise at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland.

Explosive ordnance disposal teams from the United States, Iceland and Denmark practiced locating, disarming and destroying weapons during last week’s Northern Challenge 2003.

“Northern Challenge 2003 is an exercise conducted in coordination with the Iceland Defense Force and set up by a memorandum of understanding between U.S. and Icelandic EOD teams that we should train together,” said exercise coordinator Lt. Adrian King, of the Icelandic Coast Guard. He said the Danish team was added to share information with more NATO countries.

During the exercise, each two-man team was tested in a variety of drills involving hidden and booby-trapped bombs while being observed and evaluated by King.

“Training is a big part of our job,” King said. “We have to get it right during training because of what we do. If we do it wrong in the real world we could be seriously injured or even worse, killed.”

King noted that terrorists around the world typically use the same bomb-making techniques so it is important for different countries to get together and share what they know about how terrorists make their bombs.

“We’ve all been trained to the same NATO standard,” he said. “So we all know what we are doing, but because bomb-makers are typically using the same techniques to make their weapons we can start to sense a pattern and share that [information].”

King said that even countries like Iceland and Denmark must be alert to terrorist attacks.

“We are a fairly isolated country” he said of Iceland, “but September 11 became a turning point in the history of the world.”


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