In the movie “The Hurt Locker,” actor Jeremy Renner gave the audience a fanciful rendition of what it was to be an explosive ordnance disposal technician in the U.S. military. But the men and women of the 56th Force Support Squadron, in cooperation with the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron, are set to show what it takes physically to do the job the movie stars made look easy.
The Warrior PT Challenge is an annual series of physical events held by the Bryant Fitness Center. Each year, a mission set is chosen for the challenge. This year, the Airmen at EOD get a chance to show what it takes to do their job. Most of the physical challenges are derived from the movements and physical abilities required for EOD technicians to do their job while deployed or at home station.
“Over the past 10 years our Air Force EOD has changed drastically,” said Capt. Edmund Spivak, 56th CES EOD flight commander. “The improvised explosive device warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan has caused us to change all of our fitness requirements and revamp our selection process to include a test like other Special Forces and Battlefield Airmen.”
The EOD Warrior PT Challenge will be held at the Luke Air Force Base ability to survive and operate area from 6 a.m. to
1 p.m. May 2.
“This event is open to all military and Defense Department civilians,” said Sherri Biringer, 56th FSS recreation aide. “This is also going out to all bomb squad units in the state of Arizona, first responders, police and off-base gyms. This challenge is meant to show everyone the intensity of EOD’s job and the pressures put on them to keep us and others safe.”
The challenge will consist of a ruck sack and body armor event, ordnance carry and medevac challenge. When signing up, applicants must register in advance as members of four-person teams. It is highly recommended that participants be in long pants, a long-sleeve shirt and wear boots or shoes that will get muddy and torn up. It is also recommended that applicants for the challenge be in good physical condition.
Spivak hopes to not only be able to show the local community, as well as other military members, some of the rigors of being an Air Force EOD technician, but also bring awareness to the EOD Warrior Foundation which is designed to directly support EOD members who have been severely wounded in combat and aid them in getting back to life as normal as possible.
“It’s important to remember that all services do the same mission in EOD,” Spivak said. “Airmen may be required to conduct dismounted patrols while Soldiers, Marines or Sailors may be providing support for an airfield. We are all required to do any job that involves an explosive hazard. This is why over the past century of war all services have suffered numerous casualties in combat and have all lost members on routine missions in the states. The EOD mission is dangerous and demanding requiring nonstop training and the members to be in elite physical shape.”
The coordinators will be documenting a run-through of the event to provide outside agencies a view of what to expect. For more information regarding this event, call Sherri Biringer at the Bryant Fitness Center at 623-856-6241.