EOD world revealed to 64th AEG Airmen
By Tech. Sgt. Michael J. Pereira , 64th Expeditionary Support Squadron
/ Published August 23, 2013
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- The world of explosive ordnance disposal is unfamiliar to many Airmen. When danger strikes or a bomb is cordoned off, all they know is a team shows up and miraculously the threat is gone. It seems like an adventurous job, but it is a very serious and an extremely intense career field.
While most people will never truly know what being an EOD technician is like, the 64th Air Expeditionary Group's EOD team here opened its doors for two days, inviting non-EOD Airmen into our world. They were encouraged to get hands-on with various tools and equipment we use during emergency response situations.
The event showcased five technical aspects of the EOD career field, with me and three other EOD technicians demonstrating equipment and answering questions. Each station emphasized the unique skill sets required to perform this highly intense job and provided an opportunity to learn about the equipment we use. The robot driving course was very popular, allowing Airmen to maneuver an F6A robot using a 14-inch screen and a litany of controls.
Airmen also learned how the bomb suit protects us and were then able to try it on - 80 pounds under the hot, desert sun. While in the suit, Airmen laid down flat and were challenged to stand up and move around to feel how cumbersome it can be. Kudos to Master Sgt. Jeffery Prish, the 64th Expeditionary Support Squadron civil engineer operations superintendent, who was the only person to complete a full sit-up while wearing the suit.
After an x-ray and minesweeper demonstration, we outfitted a vehicle with several training aids. We challenged Airmen to find the devices and remotely open the doors using a rope or some simple hooks and hand tools. While everyone who attempted the task used a different approach, it was the creative efforts of two Airmen, although unsuccessful, who left us speechless.
"I have been in EOD for four years and have never seen anything like this," remarked Staff Sgt. Ryan Prince, a 64th Expeditionary Support Squadron EOD technician deployed from Moody Air Force Base, and a Crystal Lake, Ill., native, describing their unorthodox yet enthusiastic efforts. "It is always amazing to see how different techniques can be applied."
The biggest draw of the event, besides the fresh baked cookies, was the Segway Human Transporter which allows fully suited up EOD members to move easily from place-to-place for quicker response time. One of our EOD technicians provided instruction and a set of hands to catch those with balance issues. Airmen said they really enjoyed the experience.
From maneuvering the robot using only a small screen with a limited field of view, to being fitted for an 80 pound bomb suit, the two-day event opened the eyes of 64th AEG Airmen to the very dangerous but rewarding EOD career field. Our EOD team remains ready to do our part in making the world a safer place, while sharing skills, knowledge and enthusiasm with anyone willing to step into our area of responsibility.