EOD fights fire with fire to ensure safety on NTTR

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Tech. Sgt. John Nelson, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, lays down unexploded ordinance on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., May 9, 2019. EOD technicians assist personnel working on the range so they can support the advanced training provided at Nellis Air Force Base and NTTR. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie)

Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians assigned to the 99th Civil Engineering Squadron travel to the Nevada Test and Training Range regularly to dispose of ordnance used for training purposes.

EOD ensures that the NTTR’s 12,000-square-nautical miles are cleared of any dangerous explosives, to ensure the safety of Airmen and contractors working on the range.

“EOD technicians’ range clearance mission is critical to the operational readiness of the ranges and enabling the construction and maintenance of targets,” said Maj. Kale McGinnis, 99th CES EOD flight commander. “Additionally the clearance mission enables the environmental compliance requirements which ensures the safe and legal use of the ranges for years to come.”

With a multitude of exercises and units using the NTTR for training, EOD executes more than 40 range clearance missions every year, disposing of more than 10,000 unexploded ordnance annually.

Staff Sgt. Mike Rodgers, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, checks-in on the radio with another EOD team on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., May 9, 2019. Multiple EOD teams have to maintain constant communication in order to have the detonations go off simultaneously. ((Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie))

Controlled explosives are strategically placed among UXO to guarantee ordnance is disposed of safely.

EOD technicians must be proficient in the identification of and hazards associated with each and every weapon system employed on the ranges to include those used by joint and foreign partners.

“Safety is paramount, due to the extremely hazardous condition of ordnance encountered on the range,” said McGinnis. “Damage due to impact, corrosion from wind and sun, as well as partially or fully subsurface items add to the complexity and danger of this operation.”

Staff Sgt. Mike Rodgers, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron (CES) Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians, places explosives on an undetonated bomb on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., May 9, 2019. It is EOD’s responsibility to ensure that the 12,000-square-nautical mile range is cleared from any dangerous explosives to guarantee the safety of Airmen and contractors working on the range. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie)

EOD technicians are trained to detect, disarm, detonate and dispose of explosive threats in a safe and secure matter.

“Exposing our Airmen to these scenarios in a training environment allows us to work out any kinks,” said Staff Sgt. John Mitchell, 99th CES EOD team leader. “In our line of work, we don’t get a second chance.”

Range clearance operations require extensive mission planning, technical expertise and coordination with multiple agencies. To minimize the risk and hazards, EOD has a continuous and extremely rigorous training program to ensure all members are certified and competent on all weapons systems.

EOD technicians assist personnel working on the range so they can support the advanced training provided at Nellis Air Force Base and NTTR. At the end of the day, EOD helps make sure there are aircraft in the sky and bombs on targets.
 

Tech. Sgt. John Nelson, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, uses a shovel to dig around a bomb on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., May 9, 2019. The 99th CES provides maintenance, repair, design and construction support for facilities and infrastructure, fire protection and crash rescue, disaster preparedness, environmental compliance, explosive ordnance demolition and oversight for privatized military family housing. ((Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie))

 
Staff Sgt. Brian Cole, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, places a missile on a pile of explosives on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., May 9, 2019. EOD technicians must be proficient in the identification and hazards associated with each and every weapon system employed on the ranges to include those used by joint and foreign partners. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie)

 
Unexploded ordnance sits lined up on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., May 9, 2019. “EOD Flight’s range clearance mission is critical not only to the operational readiness of the ranges enabling the construction and maintenance of targets, but also the environmental compliance requirements which ensures the safe and legal use of the ranges for years to come,” said Maj. Kale McGinnis, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron EOD flight commander. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie)

 
Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Jackson, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, drives a vehicle out to the detonation site on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., May 9, 2019. EOD personnel travel to the NTTR regularly to dispose of ordnance dropped from aircraft. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie)

 
Staff Sgt. John Alford, 99th Civil Engineering Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, looks at containers of explosives in the back of a truck on the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., May 9, 2019. EOD stopped at Creech Air Force Base to pick up explosives used to destroy hazardous ordnance on the NTTR. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie)