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Iceland hosts Northern Challenge for EOD community

KEFLAVIK, Iceland (AFNS) -- Airmen from the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, participated in exercise Northern Challenge 2016, which began here Sept. 12.

Northern Challenge 16 is an Icelandic-hosted, multinational, counter-improvised explosive device exercise in support of NATO’s Defense Against Terrorism program.

The exercise focused on disabling improvised explosive devices in support of counterterrorism tactics to prepare countries enrolled in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program for international deployments and defense against terrorism.

“Northern Challenge is an EOD focused exercise,” said Lt. Marvin Ingólfsson, an Icelandic Coast Guard member and the exercise director. “We rebuild devices found around the world from the past few years and use them to try and make the environment as realistic as possible.”

This year’s participating nations included Iceland, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Norway, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.S.

“With all these partner nations working together to defeat a common network, you really get the advantage of different points of view, which will help each other improve tactics, techniques and procedures,” said Capt. Kyle Fuller, the 31st CES EOD Flight commander from Aviano AB, Italy.

Although the training exercise is not associated with, or a reaction to, any real-world events, it’s designed to subject its multicultural participants to realistic EOD-related challenges that they must face together. The goal of the exercise was for participating Partnership for Peace program members to become familiar with each other's military procedures, which will improve interoperability and combined counter-terrorism efforts.