EOD trains to neutralize potential threats

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians are known for having one of the most dangerous career fields in the Air Force. Their mission is to disarm unexploded ordnance and to use their training to assist off-base agencies in dealing with terrorist or other criminal acts, accidents and found explosive items.

EOD is here for base emergency response. They don't have a traditional day-to-day mission, but maintain readiness by focusing on training and maintaining equipment so they may be ready to respond at a moment's notice. They are responsible for responding to all things pertaining to explosives including possible unexploded ordnance or improvised explosive devices, suspicious packages or any other explosive-related Items.

Once or twice a week the team is called on to respond to aircraft munitions in a potentially unsafe condition, explained Tech. Sgt. Tobin Bryant, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight NCO in charge. Being subject matter experts, EOD determines the condition of the munitions. If they are safe, they are turned over to the flight crew, otherwise, the munitions are stored or disposed of by EOD professionals.

For an Airman to be a capable and reliable EOD tech, he goes through a nine-month course and extensive on the job training. To ensure they keep these hard earned skills sharp, the EOD team also participates in exercises regularly.

"We never stop training," said Bryant. "The threats are constantly changing and evolving."

Their flight is small, so when the team has to respond to an emergency, two or three airmen will team up with other base agencies. Some of the support agencies include security forces, who are responsible for things like setting up cordons, and the fire department, who usually takes command of a scene.

In the case of a contingency, an Airfield Damage Assessment Team will activate. The team consists of at least one EOD member and one engineering assistant from the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron. After an attack, an ADAT team will act as a UXO response team

"As an engineering assistant, our primary role during contingency operations is to search the airfield and identify anything that could create a problem with launching aircraft, whether that be a UXO, a big crater that needs to be repaired, or damaged ground equipment to help the planes land," explained Senior Airman Nicholas Peters, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron engineering technician. "We then pass it up to other engineering techs in the emergency operation center. The techs in the EOC use the information relayed to them to figure out a way that we can create a makeshift runway, working around the damage provided to allow our aircrafts to not skip a beat in the war."

The EOD mission is essential to the safety of the base or any base.

"They allow everyone else to do their job safely, without having to worry about IEDs and UXOs on their day to day routine," Peters said.