by Airman 1st Class Pedro Mota
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
10/24/2014 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Braving the elements and other tough situations can either make or break a warrior.
Explosive ordnance disposal Airmen from Luke Air Force Base and
Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, worked together at the Barry M. Goldwater
Range, for war-zone scenario training Oct. 7 through 10.
The exercise began with a UH-60 helicopter dropping off the newest EOD Airmen to the Gila Bend training range.
"The primary mission of Operation Enduring Training is to provide
insight into a deployed setting for our newest Airmen," said Staff Sgt.
Michael Garrison, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD training coordinator.
"Many of these Airmen haven't been to a war zone, so we created an
environment where they were able to participate and learn."
The first day out at the range started off with a bang - literally.
With the teams working together, a main line of detonation cord
branching off to 25 unique demolition shots was formed within 90
minutes. The ordnance used for this phase was semtex explosives, C-4 and
basic sticks of dynamite set up for a wide range of explosive effects
for learning purposes.
That afternoon the six teams spent three hours doing transition drills
and learning combat training techniques. Eight targets were set up on a
mountainside at distances of 50 to 400 meters to gain real-world
experience on the ballistic drop of the rounds fired.
Later in the night as the teams were resting for the next day of
operations, a round of simulated ground bursts were thrown around the
camp to disturb their sleep and simulate the type of stress they would
receive in a war zone.
After a restless night, the teams woke to pouring rain and began their
operations without hesitation. Their operations consisted of four
scenarios including a homemade explosives laboratory, a combat
life-saving problem, a vehicle-born improvised explosive device problem
and a passive infrared initiated directional fragmentation charge
"During these ops we focused on mounted operations," Garrison said.
"Basically, the teams had to work from their vehicle, giving them more
gear and options."
After the scenarios were completed the teams returned to camp to settle
in and began resting for the next fully loaded day of operations. But
the silence and relaxation lasted only for a few moments before the next
round of simulated ground bursts were thrown into camp.
Once all the teams were awake, a few of the Airmen about to become team
leaders were taken out for a night-time operations drill using night
"We hiked up a mountain toward the location where the simulated fire was
coming from and found mounted rockets with suspicious characters around
them," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Kim, 56th CES EOD technician. "The point
of the exercise was to enhance team leader skills while gaining
experience in clearing a suspected point of origin from an enemy
During the last operations day the weather cleared up, giving the teams a
morale boost. The teams hiked out and began their dismounted
operations. At each location the teams were given scenarios and items to
use to assess each training mission. This time, each team had to work
with what they could carry on their backs while dealing with a
direction-focused fragmentation charged ordnance cache in a cave on a
mountain top, command wire improvised explosive device and a booby
After all the scenarios were completed, the six teams joined together
and discussed the events of each day, sharing knowledge and techniques.
"Operation Enduring Training was extremely successful," said Staff Sgt.
Stephen Alvarez, 56th CES EOD team leader. "Word on the street is that
we provide the best and realistic training that our guys have gotten,
and that goes from the most experienced Airmen all the way down to the
least experienced. This type of training wouldn't have been possible
without the Barry M. Goldwater Range. Their support made our training
what it is today."