99th Airborne Explosive Ordnance Disposal -- ready to disarm anything, anywhere

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Travis Edwards
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
The Airmen of the 99th Airborne Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight live and breathe risk on an almost constant basis.

They are constantly in harm's way -- from diffusing bombs, disarming booby traps and improvised explosive devices, to jumping out of an aircraft from low altitudes.

The mission of the 99th AEOD is to be a rapid deployment EOD asset, set and ready to deploy at any time to anywhere around the globe.

"Once an enemy airfield has been cleared of any remaining adversaries, by use of aircraft force, we swoop in from a plane and sweep the airfield for any remaining un-exploded ordinance and booby-traps; anything left behind that could potentially hurt our troops in the area," said Staff Sgt. Mark Gostomski AEOD member.

That often means jumping out of an aircraft from as low as 900 feet.

Sergeant Gostomski added that when you're jumping and you land, the rate of falling is equivalent to jumping from a three-story building, and if you don't land the correct way, you will break a bone.

"You just have to remember what you were taught during the training course and you won't get hurt," said Sergeant Gostomski.

There are a total of eight AEOD members stationed at Nellis out of 24 Air Force wide, and they deploy often.

Although there are eight AEOD members stationed here, they still don't have their own flight, but Sergeant Gostomski said to look for the AEOD squadron to "stand up" in October.

When AEOD gets full operational capability, they will be integrated with the Army so the AEOD members can do their job while the Army provides security to the surrounding area.

With the activation of the airborne flight, the AEOD members will be able to give the Air Force more capabilities with fewer members. "We will be able to take over the enemy airfield that much faster, and bring it up to Air Force specifications," said the sergeant.

Each week, when not in airborne training, a team goes to the Nevada Test and Training Range to search for unexploded ordinance. This keeps the members current on disposal procedures.

"We are always looking for good ideas to make us better, so don't be afraid to offer up any advice to us, we will gladly take it," Sergeant Gostomski said.