Trade background or Personality?

The core business of the AT is ammunition from pre-inspection of items coming into service, routine surveilance, repair, storage and movement and then final disposal. In addition they also ensure that the Army stocks and storage at Unit level is safe and serviceable and will investigate all defects, performance failures and accidents involving ammunition.
Added as a tack on is EOD/IEDD because someone thought that the best technical background to have when dealing with dangerous ammunition and explosives was an ordnance one. Was this right?

There seems to be a natural selection occuring within the trade as to whether you end up going the EOD or Ammo route, depending on your flair for the EOD subject. Why is this? Is it purely down to the technical knowledge of the individual, the intellectual understanding of this knowledge, the ability to think "outside the box", the ability to apply an ordnance knowledge to an improvised situation or pure personality? Why do some people not get it?

Do you really require an ordnance background to be able to be competent at EOD? What does it really bring to the party? Or do you just need to be able to spell your name correctly?
Safety, secondary hazard recognition and adjustment of RSP, charge placement, ability to recognise a UXO by its characteristics, safety, the ability to then brief correctly using anything but boom and wavey hands oh and safety. Surely thats a start as to why.

That and shouting "sh*t - incoming" after pressing the button makes you look stupid infornt of all the dental nurses you took out for the day to the range.
I guess that the powers that be at the time decided that ammunition disposal whether it be dumping, burial, sale or demolition was put under RAOC/AT control because of the in depth technical knowledge of the item to be disposed and the effect of your actions on the said item. It is not the case of placing a charge next to the possibly dangerous item and blowing it to sh1t thus possibly turning one dangerous object into several dangerous objects spread over a large area.

In days gone by most A.T's were Depot bound. These unfortunates had basically a 9-5 job. Parade in the morning the walk half an hour to work to some distant APB in the middle of nowhere.
The only time they came across anything that went bang was if they worked on the Dem ground or in the Proof Centre.
The evenings spent doing what most soldiers do.
The other more fortunate ones were attached to EOD Detachments around the UK where time was spent driving around the country collecting handed in items from Police stations and blowing stuff up in fields. On the odd occasion they would drive at great speed with blue lights flashing and two tones sounding. It was great fun.
The most important thing was to correctly work out your claims for drsa and nrsa.
The only time these two types of A.T. came face to face was on upgrading courses (T2-T1) or on the IED Courses at the School in prep for a tour with 321 in N.I.

If you were depot bound you had very little exposure to the EOD/IED world of the A.T. but if you were on attachment your exposure was higher. You eventually had A.T's who hardly ever left the Depot environment whether it be UK or BAOR, yet on the other hand the other half were rarely posted to depots.
So it was all down to being seen, getting recognised for what you were good at, but in the end it was down to luck. If you and your O.C.
didn't get on it was hello APB1 CAD Kineton for the next 12 months and make sure you put your own insp. code on the back of the box so when the 17/21 Lancers opens up their 7.62 4B1T and finds a parcel of sh1t they know who sent it.
Mine was PD if anyone finds one.
I would hope that applying technical knowledge of ammunition make up prior to conducting a RSP is vital. Blindly following a computer generated or generic RSP may as well be done by trained monkeys.

As for having a flair in it, I would hope that all ATs are selected to be able think outside the box and use technical judgement. Personality alone will not stop you looking like a cnut when that driving band just misses the baby in the pram scenario.
All good points so far and most saying that it is an ability to apply technical knowledge to any scenario.
But all AT/ATO are taught this knowledge. How come some can apply this well during IEDD and some just don't get it? We are all taught the same so one could assume that they should all be able to do it at the same level.

What makes a good operator stand out?
I know I cannot comment on todays Operators because the whole situation has changed since the 70's and what you guys are expected to do nowadays is totally different.
During my time I was attached to The School for a period, my main task was making devices for the guys on the courses to deal with. I would be the guy who makes the thing and puts it in the horrible places for you guys to find and deal with, ( the bad guy).
I therefore saw how different Operators dealt with the same device in the same circumstances so performance could then be compared.
As you said, all A.T's are taught the same, but I saw that as individuals they dealt with the same scenario differently, some would make you say to yourself, yes this one is OK, but some would make you wince and call on a higher being to assist, and some wouldn't know where to start.
You could see by the way they went through the procedures whether they believed they were right.
I dont know whether this is PC or not but I was told at the start of my attachment to try to think like the enemy, be a sneaky b'stard and try to think what you would do to kill the good guy, which I did.
The psychometric testing is designed is weed out the unsuitable ones (I was that man) but even though the training is the same the Operators are all different people and they will react to things differently and some will naturally do better because they, believe it or not, actually love it, and thats why they do it.
It used to be the ability to perform when incapable of stringing a sentence together and whilst having 2 packets of extra strong mints showed in your mouth 20 seconds prior to meeting an incident commander from what I remember being taught as a No.2 Something they still teach on an emerald induction package.

It might be down to the mergance of character, common sense, understanding of what is expected, knowledge and the ability to think outside of the box.

I expect you could find many different answers.
General Melchett said:
Blindly following a computer generated or generic RSP may as well be done by trained monkeys.

First the Wedge trying to take on IEDD........ now the RMP!

Is nothing sacred??????????????

I'll second that the technical background is vital, accompanied by the ability to think outside the box. Most ATs have the capacity to be utterly random at times and this, in moderation, is probably a good thing.

Your experiences before attempting the respective courses might count as well. I suspect that time spent doing things like PADs develops your information gathering and analytical skills, which can be converted to question technique, constant evaluation and threat assessment. It also teaches you to be suspicious - of the information received and possibly the witness.

Also, the more time spent on EOD in all its guises prepares you for the next level. Dems ground stuff prepares you for CMD on the streets. Dozens of C2s and a few licensings has you comfortable about dealing with agencies and commanding incidents, so that when you get to High threat, that side of the task management takes care of itself, leaving you to concentrate on the task in hand.

Finally, some rare individuals are naturally gifted at IEDD. But I'm not one of them and nor are most other people. Even with the technical training and the right experience, us lesser mortals still have to work at it, and therein lies anothar aspect - you really have to apply yourself to it. I've always had to work my tits off just to be safe adequate and reliable - and not always achieved it!;)
Sir Rowley stop talking sense! What you say is fine with regard to AT's building experience. I remeber courses also building with experience and taking one step at a time, basic IED, Intermediate, Advanced and STT. How about todays new ATO's then? Straight in as Tp Comdr, they don't see why they should have to listen to the WO's and they really dislike the fact that experience is everything and that they don't have it!
Albert_Tatlock said:
How about todays new ATO's then? Straight in as Tp Comdr, they don't see why they should have to listen to the WO's and they really dislike the fact that experience is everything and that they don't have it!
Bollox - pure and simple (unless you've just admitted some complete idiots in the trade in the 3 yrs since I got out???).

Bum_Doctor how would you know if you have been out three years? What I wrote can not be applied to every ATO. I may be having a run of bad ones at present or my perception may have changed as my career has progressed and my relationship with the ATO has changed. When an ATO takes over as Tp Comdr they need support. In recent times my experience is that they don't want support and don't want to listen to anyone below the rank of Major. My Tp Comdr will not go out on a Unit Inspection or any other type of inspectorate type job unless he drags one of the AT's with him. He then complaines "I thought I was the Tp Comdr" when decisions are made in his absense.

People say soldiers are not what they used to be. Training has changed. Young people who join the Army have had a different chidhood and upbrining. If the product you put into training is different and the training itself has changed then the result will be a different end product. Anyway I am sure if you speak to any instructor at AS of A I am sure they will agree that people going through now are different and probably not in a better way.

Oh, yes I do have bollox unlike a lot of todays Officers!
Bollox - pure and simple (unless you've just admitted some complete idiots in the trade in the 3 yrs since I got out???).
Yep. :D

Unfortunately, the ATO's these days don't have to want to want to do a the course and make it all too evident. :evil:


Albert - experience is everything?

I think application, intellect, effective intelligence, ability to listen etc are probably more important than pure experience. As without these, you cannot get experience. Perhaps there is a difficulty in communicating what you think is important to your troop commander?

If he/ she is an arrogant t wat I have no doubt they will be found out at AS of A/ licensing - thus freeing him up for loads of unit insp. Otherwise, it may be that the voice of experience is perceived as a whinger (and god forbid any AT WO should whine) who is too interested in 'that is not how we do things' type development.
Yes really?_f I do agree and yes there is a bit of a comms problem. I feel I am doing my best to avoid a complete break down but often end up with that "talking to a brick wall" feeling.
Albert_Tatlock said:
Yes really?_f I do agree and yes there is a bit of a comms problem. I feel I am doing my best to avoid a complete break down but often end up with that "talking to a brick wall" feeling.
Albert, we have just said above that one of the main abilities of an AT/ATO to be good at what he does is to be able to apply an analytical mind and think outside the box using the knowledge and information that he is given at training. Do you not think that this ATO is maybe trying to do this? Is he way off the mark, maybe through lack of experience, arrogance or just trying to impliment a good idea that he has had after applying the above test? Or maybe you are becoming stuck in your ways?

Experience does count for alot but it is not the be all and end all. Fresh thinking and use of good judgement is a worthy trait to have or to heed if it is sensible. It is also worth noting that they are still learning and do not have the years behind them that you do.

Communication seems to be at the heart of the matter. As an AT your mind has been trained to think for itself using all your previous knowledge and information to hand. This can sometimes be at logger heads with another person of a similar mindset, as they both think that they are right, being a primevil self defence/preservation thing. Have you tried to apply simple communication techniques like talking through tasks (Ammo, Insp, PADs and EOD), listening to his results and applying the good DS speak of "how do you think it could have been done better?, Have you thought about these areas/things?"
You don't have to slag him, appear over bearing or be a know it all. Be constructive but sympathetic and above all draw all the better answers out of him after giving him opportunistic prompts. A guy feels much better about "a talking to" if he feels as if he has provided all the right answers and solutions.

Here endith my 2penny's worth.
Albert_Tatlock said:
So Bog_Doctor ...............

No wonder your Troopy is not listening to you - you're boring the pants off me and I don't have to listen to your immature whine every day.

Ever wondered if the problem is with you and not him?

They try to weed them out at the AS of A........................................but get over ruled by those higher up the food chain.

Or so I am led to believe.

Similar threads

Latest Threads