Master Sgt. Ryan R. Glau, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, was awarded the Bronze Star medal at the Marine Corps Installations West headquarters Sept. 13. His actions resulted in the discovery of five enemy caches, the training of 610 Coalition Force members and the rendering safe of approximately 50 improvised explosive devices. (Lance Cpl. Orrin G. Famer/Marine Corps)
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When Master Sgt. Ryan Glau deployed last year to Patrol Base Lazika, Afghanistan, tasked with teaching some 610 Georgian soldiers and Marines about improvised explosive device detection, the first thing he learned was to ease up on the shouting.
Up against a language barrier and cultural differences as he worked with a detachment from Camp Lejeune’s 2nd Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Company to support the 12th Georgian Light Infantry Battalion, Glau quickly learned that the brusque Marine Corps training techniques he relied on wouldn’t work.
“In their culture, it doesn’t work to start yelling at them, being real aggressive with the way you train them,” said Glau, speaking of his Georgian counterparts. “You have to show by example.”
Glau was part of an ongoing Marine Corps mission to prepare Georgian troops for combat in Afghanistan. The eastern European nation doubled its troop commitment in Afghanistan in 2011, and Georgian soldiers comprise a significant portion of the coalition presence there.
Glau received the Bronze Star with combat “V” device last month in recognition of his exceptional work. According to his Bronze Star citation and summary of action, Glau’s work led the disarming of more than 49 IEDS and the discovery of five enemy arms caches between October 2012 and April 2013.
During one patrol on Nov. 30 in response to an IED discovered near the village of Regay, Glau’s team was ambushed just after discovering a second IED in the area. Targeted by machine gun fire, Glau worked quickly to render the IED safe as bullets impacted just feet away. Later, while still taking fire, the team repeated the procedure with a third IED.
Glau credited his ANGLICO Marines and Georgian troops, who became adept at IED detection.
“At one point, one of the [Georgian] lead sweepers went out on patrol and found eight IEDs in one day,” he said. “They came a long way, and it was amazing to watch them go from not knowing anything to being very proficient at counter-IED work.”
Now an explosive ordnance disposal Staff NCO in charge at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Glau pinned on the Bronze Star there Sept. 13.