by Senior Airman Brittain Crolley
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
9/9/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Explosive
ordnance disposal Airmen from three bases descended upon Seymour
Johnson Air Force Base for a training exercise, Aug. 24-28.
Teams from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Moody and Andrews Air Force Bases
participated in Operation Llama Fury, where teams competed against each
other to promote cohesion and standardization across the EOD career
"This was a training opportunity for us to try to standardize the way we
do things as EOD techs," said Master Sgt. Tracy Passerotti, 4th Civil
Engineer Squadron EOD flight noncommissioned officer in charge. "It gave
us a chance to work on a lot of our training fundamentals as well as
teamwork and crosstalk for the different EOD flights attending."
The exercise began much as it would in a deployed environment, where EOD
units from multiple bases are teamed together to form a unit downrange.
The teams conducted a quick meet and greet, went over safety procedures
specific to the base's facilities, and discussed the strategy for the
The 4th CES EOD unit also provided the EOD teams with F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft weapons familiarization training.
"When you're sourced for a deployment, you may go and support aircraft
you have never seen before," Passerotti explained. "So what we're trying
to do by bringing all these other units in is give them a chance to
actually get their hands on the jet and train with some of its munitions
Instead of getting spun up through books and diagrams, the EOD Airmen were given firsthand training by the 4th CES EOD team.
The three-man EOD teams trained and exercised on a multitude of
scenarios, including responding to improvised explosive device and
unexploded ordnance threats, practicing basic demolition techniques and
reacting to F-15E munitions emergencies.
The Airmen were given general guidance on each setup but relied upon
past experiences and training to choose the best methods to complete
"EOD is unique in that no two responses are ever the same," Passerotti
said. "You could give 10 teams a scenario, and you're going to see 10
different ways of getting it done. What's great about that is you get
out of your own mindset of how things have to be done and see a
different perspective that can help you down the road."
The EOD teams competed in four daytime challenges to earn the best gear for the nighttime operations.
With night-vision goggles and flashlights ready the teams set out on a
trek across the EOD training range to put their knowledge and skillsets
to the ultimate test.
The exercise culminated with the EOD teams applying the training
received during the week to compete against each other to see who could
accomplish a concluding set of scenarios in the most efficient and
safest manner possible.
Even though the Seymour Johnson team won the final challenge, the competition was beneficial to all participants
"The training we're getting here is exceptional," said Airman 1st Class
Josh Holbrook, EOD technician 11th CES, Joint Base Andrew. "Everything
is real, and we're doing it by the book -- how it's going to be if we
encounter it in person. I'm just finishing upgrade training and getting
into my five-level certifications, so this [training] is going to help
me get signed off on the majority of the things I have left."
Master Sgt. Roger Hughes, 4th CES EOD logistics chief, said he hopes the
event's success leads to it becoming an annual event held at other
bases to expose the Airmen to different facilities and training ranges
and further standardize training.
"Training opportunities like this can be hard to come by, so we take
advantage of them whenever we can," Hughes said. "That way, we can
operate in a safer manner so that we can not only protect the
surrounding area, but we can also protect ourselves."