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380AEW Article

EOD sticking together to protect others

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mya M. Crosby
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Staying ready in the Air Force is a priority, but for an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airman, it’s an absolute must.

The Airmen in the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight execute precision by using constant training to keep up their skills and protect personnel at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

“Our overall mission would be to protect personnel and property,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Quick, 380th ECES EOD equipment leader and team leader. “Oftentimes, I tell people that we're responsible for everything from cannon balls to Nuclear weapons, if it goes ‘boom’ or looks like it could, we're the experts and you probably need us in your life.”

EOD technicians have a mission with nine capacities: aircraft systems and conventional munitions; counter-improvised explosive device; weapons of mass destruction; nuclear weapons; unexploded ordnance recovery operations; range clearance; defense support to civil authorities; irregular warfare and special operations support; and very important persons protective support.

To meet this long list of expectations and the challenges of the job, these Airmen must train – a big part of their day-to-day life.

“Training is very important with our job with all the different mission sets that we have to cover down on,” said Tech. Sgt. Paul Works, 380th ECES EOD team leader. “Also, with the thousands of different ordnance items that we deal with we have to try to prepare for any situation that we may come across.”

“I think you have to like a challenge, be a little bit crazy, have a type-A personality, and thick skin,” said Quick. “Some of the characteristics that I see in my fellow EOD technicians are determination, dependability and the ability to see the big picture and think through a problem.”

For some training is simply to upgrade their skill, but for EOD Airmen, training is meant to stay physically ready and efficient.

“We are actually governed by our Air Force Instruction to train for 24 hours a week,” Quick said. “We are also required to workout five days a week to stay in great physical condition, although no one is complaining about required gym time. The need to be fit becomes blindingly apparent when you put on the bomb suit on a 100 degree day, pick up 45 pounds of equipment and take ‘the long walk.’”

EOD technicians have big obstacles they could be facing at any given time. Though times can get tough, the EOD community knows how to stick together as a family.

"The wide variety and the drive that every person brings to the table creates the tight-knit community that we call our brethren,” Works said. “We come from many different walks of life, but we all walk in the same footsteps."