IEDs, UXOs no problem for EOD

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jake Carter
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Whenever an unexploded ordnance is found on base, a perimeter is set and a safety checklist is initiated. At the top of the list is to call the explosive ordnance disposal team to assess the situation and take care of the job.

Airmen assigned to the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD team have the training to stop any threat that could be posed by an explosive.

Not limited to explosive hazards, EOD Airmen also have capabilities to stop other threats as well.

"We take care of any and all explosive hazards as well as chemical and nuclear," said Senior Airman Kalin Fuller, 99th CES EOD journeyman. "Anything that (has the potential) to hurt someone else, we can take care of it."

When EOD is called, a standard procedure is followed.

"First thing we do is figure out what's wrong exactly," Fuller said. "Then (we) figure out how we can (accomplish) it and we do whatever's necessary."

With the training Nellis AFB EOD Airmen receive, it allows them to also work alongside Las Vegas bomb units.

"Our main involvement with (Las Vegas) Metro Police Department Armor guys, the (Las Vegas) Fire Department bomb squad and the FBI is mostly for military ordnance that's found downtown," Fuller said. "We have the main jurisdiction for military munitions, but they can call us out to any sort of suspect package if they want any of our advice or assistance."

The technical training school for all EOD Airmen is rough, grueling and the graduation rate is slim," said Fuller.

"My schooling was 10 months down in Florida," Fuller said. "It was long hours, working constantly and some of the course material tests were really hard to pass."

Once the initial formal training is in the rear-view mirror, Airmen continue their upgrade training at their first duty assignment to prepare them for what's to come at deployed locations.

"We run through deployed improvised explosive device scenarios; we will train up on mine detectors, electronic countermeasures, and a lot of ruck marches to get them used to that when they deploy," said Tech. Sgt. Patrick McGillivray, 99th CES EOD technician. "We send them through two weeks of shooting training before (deploying) so they get time with weapons, and then to (Camp) Cobra with their actual team who they will deploy with to build team cohesion."

While deployed, an EOD Airman's highest priority is counter-IED operations. They can encounter between 10 to 100 IEDs on a single deployment.

"Our main priority is counter IED. So depending on the deployed location you are at, you can be tasked on a quick reaction force, which is waiting at a location for a call to take care of an IED," McGillivray said. "They might attach you to a route clearance package, which is basically driving routes to take care of IEDs along the way. Or you can be attached directly to a unit where you are there for clearance support."

Equipment EOD personnel use consists of the F6A robot, bomb suit, various explosive tools, and aircraft tools to help them accomplish their mission.

McGillivray and Fuller are proud to be EOD Airmen and encourage anyone who may be interested in cross-training or joining the Air Force to join the EOD career field.

"If you're looking for a fast-paced job with lots of room to grow and learn, EOD is definitely a good one to choose," McGillivray said.

"It's a really rewarding career, you get to go out and help people. It's a lot of fun and a great brotherhood amongst all forces," Fuller said.