AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
U.S. Airmen assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight hosted the EOD 134 Memorial Workout, Nov. 30, 2018.
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen, along with coalition partners, participated in the annual workout to honor the 134 EOD technicians from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps that have been killed since Sept. 11, 2001.
An EOD technician’s role is to detect, disarm and dispose of improvised explosive devices – a task that is magnified in a downrange location. Being an EOD technician in the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility means that there are many additional dangers to face while fulfilling the duty to serve the nation – dangers that can result in life-altering injuries or death.
“It is truly an honor to be able to serve alongside so many great men and women, and to be able to call myself an EOD technician in the United States Air Force,” said Senior Airman Zachary Pennington, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron EOD technician. “I feel so lucky to be able to come into work and do what I love. The work that EOD techs do around the world every day is extremely important.”
On top of the high demands of physicality and courageousness, the EOD career field is rightfully acknowledged as one of the most dangerous careers in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The participants executed a weight-based CrossFit styled workout including burpees, chest-to-bar pullups, and pendlay barbell rows, to name just a few of the exercises. The modern mix of calisthenics and weightlifting brought the service members together to honor the deceased EOD technicians while keeping fit to fight.
“A loved one – a friend – somebody that I grew up with, died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, back in 2013, so it is very important for me to honor fallen U.S service members,” said Staff Sgt. Karl Santos, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Individual Protective Equipment supervisor and EOD 134 participant. “Fitness is one of the many ways for us to show that we haven't forgotten about them and that we never will. I like to think that no matter how much pain I'm experiencing throughout any kind of workout, that pain isn't even comparable to what the families of our fallen service members experienced.”
Through the EOD 134 Memorial Workout, the men and women of ADAB ensure that the lives of those before them are never forgotten.
“In the EOD career field, we say, ‘We Remember,’ said Pennington. “This simple phrase, ‘We Remember,’ serves as a promise to always remember the fallen and the sacrifices they made. We are indebted to these brave men and women, and holding an event such as this every year in honor of them is the least we can do.”