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Senior Airman Kyle Riley Enhances Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mission

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jim Bentley
  • 332d Air Expeditionary Wing

America’s adversaries use a variety of explosive weapons to attempt to harm service members and their allies. Senior Airman Kyle Riley is an Explosives Ordnance Disposal Specialist, one of twelve Airmen trained in defending the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing against these threats. These Airmen use their expertise to defend their installation, their host nation, allies and coalition partners, and several forward operating bases.


“The big thing we’ve been talking about now is drones,” says Riley. “So that’s what we’ve been training with Security Forces with.” EOD specialists and Security Forces coordinated in an anti-drone exercise in which Security Forces used a Dronebuster to take down a drone through electromagnetic interference. EOD then used an Andros F6A to disable the downed drone and render it safe in the same way as they would a bomb.


The Andros F6A, a 400-pound remotely controlled robot equipped with detectors for chemical and biological hazards, is one of the many tools EOD specialists use to render safe and dispose of explosives. It also has a mechanical arm and a shotgun-like titanium tube capable of firing water at speeds high enough to slice through most containers.


According to Senior Master Sgt. Brock Flint, when Riley first arrived, the robots and much of the other EOD equipment assigned to the unit was degraded. He took the lead in repairing equipment and arranging for repairs off-site where necessary. As a result, the flight has gone from minimal operations to working at maximum capacity.


"Being at maximum capacity…We’re able to meet the adversary wherever they decide they’re going to try to attack us, and we’re able to thwart those attacks through dealing with unexploded ordnance, exploiting weapon systems that they’ve used against us to find out who’s using them, how they’re getting them, and basically attack the network on that side,” says Brock.


Once they have disabled explosives, EODs gather forensic information from the devices that can then be used to discover who manufactured the components used in the bombs, how they were brought to the aggressors, and ultimately identify the supply chain for the IEDs.


Brock says, “We’re able to provide that (forensic information) to policymakers who will then use that information to levy sanctions to go after the suppliers who are providing regional aggressors the means to attack us. That all starts with Senior Airman Riley as a team member, as a team leader, being able to go out and gather that information and provide it to policymakers, the exploitation labs, and to everyone who can take the forensics and do something with it."


Brock added that “Violent extremist organizations are going to use any means to attack us. The most likely route is going to be IEDs, and we are the ones who are going to go out and deal with those IEDs wherever they are found.”