Military News

Monday, May 11, 2015

EOD trains for any situation

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 operate overseas.

"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 services help."

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 safe.

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.

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