EOD: A job for the Air Force ‘s best and bravest

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Few tasks require as much attention to detail as disarming an explosive device.

When called upon, the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight supports the wing’s mission of training the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat ready Airmen by performing tactically and technically demanding tasks.

EOD uses many tools and technologies including robots, x-ray systems and bomb suits to execute the mission in the most efficient, expeditious and safest way possible. An EOD technician’s daily duties include maintaining flight readiness, training, and supporting mission sets such as operational range clearance, countering and defeating terrorist threats and responding to emergencies on and off base involving explosive devices all while maintaining a high level of physical fitness.

“The range clearance mission involves an on-going effort to clear active ranges of dud-fired ordnance, munitions waste and explosive residues in order to facilitate the continuation of training operations,” said Staff Sgt. James Vossah, 56th CES EOD team lead. “Our emergency response capabilities involve providing 24/7 response to any direct or indirect explosive incident, accident or threat which may impede the ability to execute the mission.”

EOD Airmen go through extensive training to prepare them for the operational Air Force. The first training course is a 26-day EOD preliminary course held at Sheppard AFB, Texas followed by the 7-month Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal course held at Eglin AFB, Fla.

“The EOD training pipeline provides a progressive developmental approach to training in all of our mission sets, beginning with basic explosive concepts and concluding with nuclear dynamics,” Vossah said.

Their motto, “initial success or total failure,” requires them to think outside the box and accept nothing less than perfection when executing their tasks. To maintain the functional performance ability to execute demanding tasks, EOD members are held to stricter fitness standards than the rest of the Air Force.

“In addition to the Air Force Fitness Assessment, preliminary school students must pass the Physical Ability and Stamina Test and Tier One Performance Screen assessment,” Vossah said.

As their capabilities expanded and equipment inventory grew here at Luke, a larger facility was needed. The new 56th CES EOD flight building officially opened Feb. 20, 2019.

“In addition to our daily operational missions EOD provides emergency response capabilities for Luke AFB and all Department of Defense satellite locations in the area,” said Maj. Trevyn Guglielmo, 56th CES EOD flight commander. “This new facility consolidates EOD’s personnel, equipment and vehicles into one central location which will increase our emergency response capabilities.”