EOD Airmen maintain readiness

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexander Cook)

The 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen participated in the fifth annual Operation Enduring Training Feb. 6 through 10 at the Barry M. Goldwater Range located southwest of Luke Air Force Base in Gila Bend.

The purpose of the exercise was for EOD Airmen to gain combat experience while being exposed to contingency operations. The five-day training exercise took place at the Barry M. Goldwater Range; 1.7 million acres of desert landscape that simulates that of a deployed environment.

“We work really hard to make it as close to a combat environment as we can,” said Capt. Ben Riggles, 56th CES EOD flight commander. “When we go out to the range we stay there overnight, sleep in tents and operate as if we are in a deployed environment.”

The training exercise covered an array of deployed scenarios consisting of large-scale demolitions, combat life-saving training, weapons training, and mounted and dismounted contingency operations.

“Operation Enduring Training gave our team the opportunity to focus on training on our primary missions,” said Chief Master Sgt. Vincent Pagano, 56th CES EOD flight chief. “This training was a way we could get out there and practice our job skills to ensure our people are ready when called to deploy.”

The training also provided a learning experience for new EOD Airmen.

“This training is extremely important for our newer Airmen because it gives them the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons from our experienced team leaders while receiving the combat experience,” Riggles said.

Passing on knowledge from seasoned EOD leaders was one of the biggest objectives of this exercise.

“Being the newest Airman here, it was interesting to actually see how operations were run,” said Airman 1st Class Peter Connolly, 56th CES EOD team member. “You learn a lot from the team leaders and see how they operate in real-world operations. This was hands-down the most beneficial training I’ve received in the military.”

56th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal Airmen fire their weapons down range during a live-fire shooting exercise Feb. 7, 2017, at the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Gila Bend, Az. During live-fire training, EOD Airmen work on accuracy by aiming down their targets.

Staff Sgt. Timothy Doland, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team leader, places a water bottle charge on the side of a vehicle during a contingency problem Feb. 8, 2017, at the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Gila Bend, Az. Throughout the exercise, EOD Airmen were challenged with various contingency problems in which they had to detect, defuse, and destroy potential roadside bomb threats.

56th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal Airmen search the area for possible roadside bomb threats during a contingency problem as part of Operation Enduring Training Feb. 8, 2017, at the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Gila Bend, Az. During the training exercise, EOD Airmen work in teams to detect, defuse, and destroy potential roadside bomb threats in the surrounding area.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Roseler, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team member, fires down range toward a target during the live-fire shooting exercise Feb. 7, 2017, at the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Gila Bend, Az. The purpose of live-fire training is to ensure Airmen are combat ready when deployed to hostile locations.