Military News

Friday, April 03, 2015

Scott EOD tech recognized for heroic actions after explosion

by Airman 1st Class Erica Crossen
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

4/3/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The American Red Cross recognized a Scott Airman as being a hero for his expertise in responding to an emergency situation.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Drysdale received the recognition in the Military Category at the ARC's 2015 Heroes Breakfast in St. Louis March 26.

Employees at a Granite City recycling center were processing military-grade munitions in August that were thought to be spent when an explosion occurred, killing two people. First responders called the base for assistance to render the scene safe and to dispose of the remaining munitions.

Drysdale, a 375th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader, along with seven other EOD members, spent two days recovering and securing the scene. Among his tasks were to recover the human remains and verify the stability of the remaining munitions. His team would remove and eventually destroy more than 200 munitions later at an isolated area.

"I made contact with the officer who arrived on scene first before realizing that gravity of the situation. He had called for assistance, and I was the first one to gain access to the area and set up operations from there," said Drysdale.

"There is always a little bit of anxiousness going into a call because you don't know what to expect, but I think that's healthy. It just makes you aware and careful, which in turns keeps us safe when performing our duties. In my line of work, I see a lot of heroic things. I don't know if I would ever put myself in that category, however, I feel humbled that somebody would."

Airman 1st Class Derek Wingler and Staff Sgt. David Dickey also assisted in identification of munitions and transportation, and in all, more than 100 individuals were involved in the lengthy process. Throughout the incident, Drysdale served as an advisor to the several local and federal agencies.

Tech. Sgt. Dustin Lambries, 375th CES EOD Operations Section Chief, said, "I understand there needs to be heroes out there, and I think Staff Sgt. Drysdale fits the bill."

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