SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
The 4th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal Airmen at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base train every day to maintain mission readiness and unit proficiency.
“We train for a variety of different scenarios on base,” said Airman First Class Brian Price, a 4th CES EOD technician. “We have basic demolition days out on the range where we practice our explosive procedures. We run different types of operations such as chemical, improvised, and conventional ordnance. Basically, any mission we encounter, we recreate throughout the week.”
They train to protect personnel and property from explosive hazards, both domestically and abroad.
“EOD training is incredibly expansive given the number of different mission sets we support,” added Staff Sgt. Nathanael J. Banden, 4th CES NCO in Charge of EOD quality assurance. “In addition to training for missions, physical training is just as important.”
Airmen conduct physical training five days a week and take the EOD Tier 2 Physical Fitness Test which is a challenging, career field-specific fitness assessment. The ten functional components of the test simulate stateside and combat operations and measure technicians’ strength, speed, flexibility, balance, and overall ability to endure rigorous and sustained physical activity.
Mission safety is equally essential within EOD due to the inherent risks of the career field operations, EOD technicians train tirelessly to prepare for every situation.
“It is not as dangerous as everyone says it is because we have really good training and everything is calculated. We do a lot of risk assessment,” said Price. “It can be dangerous because there are some scenarios where you never know.”
In unknown scenarios, Airmen protect themselves by utilizing and wearing specialized equipment.
“The Andros F6 robot is extremely important because it allows us to spend the least amount of time on target,” Price said. “It reduces the amount of danger that we are exposed to during a given operation. When we do have to go down and approach a device we utilize the bomb suit’s protective capability. It provides substantial protection from both blast and fragmentation.”
In addition to all the training and the protective equipment used to ensure their safety, the Airmen develop strong bonds with their teammates. Being able to trust and rely on your teammates is essential to mission success, added Price.
“What I like best about EOD is that I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I can trust my team to give me good information, to support me in the task we are performing and I can rely on them to save my life if needed,” said Banden. “It doesn’t matter what rank they are and it doesn’t matter how long they have been there. The nature of the job brings us together and I will continue to do this job as long as I am able to for that reason.”
Regardless of where the mission is—on base, assisting in the local community, deployed to an austere location, or working with the secret service—EOD Airmen are prepared to complete their mission safely and effectively.