Local

September 6, 2012

EOD Airmen have a blast at work

Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths
355th Fighter Wing

The 355th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal conducted monthly explosives training on D-M Aug. 29.

The EOD Airmen conducted this exercise for both overseas operations and for when hazardous material on base needs to be destroyed.

“We were destroying jammed 30mm projectiles from an aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Dustin Prowell, 355th CES EOD flight chief. “There was a gun malfunction and because the ammunition was damaged, we had to dispose of the rounds with C-4 plastic explosive.”

If not out on the range training with explosive, the EOD Airmen spend most of their time in the classroom.

“Mondays we catch up on whatever needs to be done and look at what the week has for us,” Prowell said. “Tuesday we start with a morning meeting and then move on to classroom training “We do this on Thursday as well. On average we conduct 30 classes a month. Wednesdays are practical training days consisting of going out to aircraft and rendering them safe and learning what to do when you come across and improvised explosive device. Fridays are wrapping up whatever needs to be done.”

Most Airmen in the shop are either on a temporary deployment or deployed, but the shop is required to keep six people on base in case of any type of emergency. They have a total of 14 people in their office: 13 male Airmen and one female Airman.

Anytime there is a bomb threat on base, their standard procedure is to use a robot or energetic tools to disarm or get rid of the explosive. Energetic tools are water jets used to safely disarm explosives.

“Energetic tools that propel water with a shotgun shell,” Prowell said. “It’s what we use regularly to disrupt an explosive. By pinpointing strategic place on the bomb, we can use the water pressure to safety disarm it.”

Explosive ordinance disposal Airmen have many different challenges to face when deployed overseas.

“The toughest part is the unknown of what you’re going up against,” said Tech Sgt. Jeremy Pye, 355th CES EOD journeyman. “You have to think outside the box as if you were a terrorist. What would they do in that situation?”

Because of the constant deployments, EOD Airmen need to keep up to date with their training. With the challenges they face, these Airmen need to know how to handle the unknown situations of a deployed environment.




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(U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

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