Airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., participated in a joint exercise with local law enforcement and emergency responders in Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 2, 2022.
The 355th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordinance disposal unit teamed up with the Arizona-based FBI and Tucson Police Department’s bomb squad to test their explosive and weapon of mass destruction emergency response capabilities.
“I think the best part about exercises like this is that the Air Force EOD technicians get to learn the nuances of how the police department and FBI are different,” said Special Agent Taylor Biggs of the Arizona-based FBI. “We talk a little differently, drive different cars and have different reporting structures, so we definitely learned from each other today.”
The joint exercise was also intended to strengthen bonds between Davis-Monthan and local law enforcement agencies while giving each other insights into the different departments’ standard operating procedures and emergency protocols.
“If this was a real event, this is what it would be like,” said Detective Mike Jensen, Tucson Police Department hazardous device technician. “You would have everybody working together and responding at the same time.”
During the training, everyone focused on booby trap detection and deactivation, hostage rescue and identifying potential WMDs.
The EOD technicians at Davis-Monthan are some of the first to arrive on scene in the event of a live-ordinance threat so being able to seamlessly integrate with local first responders extremely important.
“I’m excited to do it again next year and I hope it becomes an annual event,” Schindler said. “I’m hoping to have more complex stuff for the newer guys to learn and some exercises for the older guys to run that will boggle their brains.”
The 355th Wing encourages joint training exercises to prepare Airmen for real world scenarios and help bolster the efforts of local law enforcement and first responders in the greater Tucson area.