by Airman 1st Class Joshua King
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
5/8/2015 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Two
weeks ago, the 87th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordinance
Disposal team was blowing up a World War II-era bomb; this week they are
conducting a field training exercise here focused on preparing Airmen
for stateside and deployed operations.
"We are trying to replicate scenarios from Iraq and Afghanistan so that
we can take advantage of the lessons we learned the hard way," said
Master Sgt. Mario Kovach, 87th CES EOD superintendent. "When other
conflicts arise we are ready for it."
The EOD team, which trains daily, is continuing their training in a
field environment over several days, working with military working dog
units to identify hazards and using video game-style controllers to
maneuver robots and decommission explosives.
In addition to responding to local area calls, like the WWII unexploded ordnance recently
found in Edison, New Jersey, EOD personnel also support all base
agencies. EOD responds to any in-flight emergencies, suspicious packages
and any incidents that may occur on the joint base's extensive ranges.
A high-risk job like EOD requires continuous, in-depth training to
always be prepared for a call, whether it is in garrison, in their
community, or when they are deployed. This week's training exercise is
one of many training opportunities for unit members. The unit takes
advantage of their unique opportunity being at a joint base with all
five services, to prepare for missions in a joint environment, as they
"When we deploy, we support whoever needs the support," said Kovach.
"Being stationed at a joint base, we have Marines, for example, who we
can work with. They support us with helicopter insertions kind of like
how we conduct regular operations, that's just one way the other
This field training exercise was a learning experience for younger
Airmen, who learn from more experienced EOD technicians in this
realistic field environment while operating among their sister services.
"It's a great opportunity because the guys that have been there and done
that are able to share a lot of the intangibles that you won't find in a
book," added Kovach. "We're able to kind of pay it forward to the
younger Airmen, so when things do kick off, we're able to deal with it."
"I feel that I would be more prepared to go over," said Airman 1st Class
Jared Rafferty, 87th CES EOD team member, "We know what to do, we've
been to some courses and this training definitely seals it in."
During the training there was a situation where the team came across an
exposed wire and one team member had to carefully address the scene and
check that wire and see if it was connected to an I.E.D. and if it is
take the appropriate precautions to disarm the device and keep the team
At one point during the training, the team came across an exposed wire.
One team member had to carefully assess the scene, determine if the wire
was connected to an improvised explosive device and after determining
it was a threat, they took appropriate precautions to disarm the device
and keep the team safe.