WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
This July UTA weekend, the 442d Explosive Ordnance Disposal team hosted a mission spotlight. This spotlight included a general overview of EOD, the training requirements to be an EOD technician, trying on the bomb suit, driving the improvised explosive device detection robot, and a live demonstration of just how powerful C-4 plastic explosive really is.
Master Sgt. Paul Works, an EOD program manager for the 442d Civil Engineer Squadron, was one of the demonstrators during the mission spotlight.
“Our role in the mission is to take care of anything explosive that might injure someone or property,” said Works. “EOD can be a very stressful job, but to most, it is very rewarding.”
EOD training is unique, in that they train with all branches of the military. They also work with multiple law enforcement agencies to conduct training exercises.
“We do regular training and information swapping with local bomb squads, as well as ATF and FBI,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Simmons, an EOD technician for the 442 CES. “Raven’s Challenge is a training event held for all agencies to integrate with one another and complete training operations together to utilize each other’s life experiences and learn their tactics.”
One of the most essential tools for the EOD team is their Med-Eng EOD 10 bomb suit. Equipped with a suit fan, padded jacket, helmet, and trousers, this suit can weigh well over 80 pounds, depending on size. The bomb suit is built to withstand some of the most dangerous IEDs and un-exploded ordnance, while shielding the wearer from blast and flame damage.
“Airmen are trained on being able to put the suit on and take it off as well as setting it up,” said Staff Sgt. Adam Emery, an EOD technician with the 442 CES.
During the tour, a Total Containment Vessel or TCV was also featured.
“The TCV is used for explosives that are too hazardous to move and need to be disposed of in an area that isn’t safe to have an exposed detonation,” said Simmons.
To conclude the mission spotlight, the EOD team gave a general overview on the use and how to safely handle C-4. They also demonstrated how powerful C-4 can be by giving Airmen in the audience the opportunity to detonate the explosive.
“I learned how much time and preparation it takes each time EOD goes on a mission,” said Senior Airman Brendon Roberts, an integrated avionics technician for the 442d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “I also learned how they deal with stress and fear when handling dangerous things such as explosives.”
When asked what his favorite part about the mission spotlight was, Roberts said, “Getting the opportunity to detonate the C4. I felt like a kid again!”
Those interested in the career can expect to spend roughly 6 weeks at the EOD Preliminary School at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. Once completed, Airmen are then required to attend EOD school, which is approximately 10 months long at Eglin AFB, Fla. This training is conducted with the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
“Being a joint-service school, all EOD techs receive the same basic training, this allows a greater interoperability between services,” said Emery. “The explosive hazards presented on the modern battlefield are often complex devices that need a high level of training and attention to detail. The single school and small community allow for very specialized training and continuation training that larger service-specific schools cannot offer. It is that training that allows us to complete our mission successfully.”
For more information on EOD and training requirements, visit https://www.airforce.com/careers/detail/explosive-ordnance-disposal-eod.