Misawa EOD rockets to the top, wins AF award
By Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto , 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 07, 2017
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
The Air Force recently announced the winners of the 2016 Civil Engineer Awards, revealing the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team as the recipient of the Senior Master Sgt. Gerald J. Stryzak Award.
The annual award recognizes the EOD flight that distinguished itself as the year's top performer through sustained superior mission support and outstanding achievement. The award honors Senior Master Sgt. Gerald J. Stryzak, an EOD technician who died in an aircraft crash while participating in a tactical rapid response exercise in Egypt.
“Our mission is inherently different from the rest of our squadron,” said Capt. Robert Pukay-Martin, the 35th CES EOD flight commander. “In the engineering realm, we are often misunderstood and subsequently overlooked. It's hard to communicate the importance of what we do when there are no major dollar signs, high work order numbers or operational man hours.”
During 2016, the EOD team exemplified expeditionary culture, deploying worldwide in support of various combat and humanitarian aid missions. The squadron secured $1.8 billion of aircraft and 15,000 Department of Defense personnel by removing 13 tons of munition and responding to 135 unexploded ordinances across 1,900 acres in deployed locations.
“The EOD Airmen’s dedication to the mission is unwavering,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Manzi, the 35th CES EOD operations section chief. “Winning this award is the ultimate validation that our hard work over the past year is paying off.”
Additionally, they provided protection details for the President of the United States, the Pope and Asian dignitaries by devoting more than 484 work hours sanitizing streets, buildings and vehicles for hidden or exposed items that could cause harm or destruction.
Finally, they enhanced the partnership between the Japan Air Self-Defense Force EOD by sharing knowledge and expertise on explosive detection training.
“Misawa's EOD flight continuously surpasses my expectations and standards, incorporating innovation in all aspects of their job,” expressed Lt. Col. Elizabeth Harwood, the 35th CES commander. “They created a training plan to be implemented with the JASDF EOD from scratch; enriching the partnership and building a stronger relationship between the two nations, while advancing toward the goal of interoperability every day. They embody the core values and warrior ethos."
The EOD flight won at multiple levels, proving their hard work and dedication were the best of the best among the EOD units. They will go on to compete for DoD awards.
"Our EOD team, like all in the Air Force, excelled in 2016 with real-world missions across the theater and continuous training, said Col. Christopher Parrish. “What set them apart from their peers is their strong continuing relationship with our JASDF counterparts. I'm proud of them."