Friday, July 05, 2013

EOD removes more than 35 tons of ordnance during annual range clearance

by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/5/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- Explosive ordnance disposal Airmen from the 366th Civil Engineering Squadron were joined by fellow EOD Airmen from nine different bases to perform the annual range clearance at Saylor Creek and Juniper Butte Range complexes, Idaho.

Members from the 366th Fighter Wing and other units have spent the past year dropping more than 35 tons of munitions at targets throughout the range complexes. Across the globe, millions of pounds of ammunition are dropped on ranges in order to assist in vital training for military members.

"The purpose of this range clearance is to remove munitions, unexploded ordnance and dummy bombs which have been dropped by the multiple military units across the globe who have utilized our range throughout the past year," said Tech. Sgt. Lawrence Saterfield, 366th Civil Engineering Squadron noncommissioned officer-in-charge of Explosive Ordnance Disposal plans. "The logistics phase began about six months ago and included things like coordinating dates with Air Combat Command, ensuring we had the required amount of personnel to complete the mission as well as the correct amount of vehicles to handle the difficult terrain throughout the entire month."

EOD personnel used military vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to clear approximately 2,106 munitions across 124,000 acres of range.

"Staff Sgt. Jonathan Winter and I performed an aerial survey of the ranges in order to do a pre-assessment of the ranges and see how saturated they were," said Saterfield. "We used the helicopter to pull out some of the extremely large bombs which can be too much for the trucks to handle."

Across the ranges there are various targets which must be maintained in order for the range to continue to be useful for training purposes.

"It's important to remove any munitions debris from the target areas so the contractors can fix or replace them," said Staff Sgt. William Roberts, 366th CES NCO in charge of EOD equipment. "Throughout the years we have refined a process allowing us to cover every single inch of the range by using GPS coordinates and marking flags.

"We like to start at the northeast corner and work our way south toward the more heavily used target areas," he continued. "Each day we pick up wherever we left of the previous day and get the vehicles on line and continue the sweep. The Juniper Butte range is an electronic targeting range which makes things a little tricky but there are specific target areas there where we find hundreds of rounds which must be cleared."

As the operations tempo for Air Force EOD technicians remains high, maximizing training opportunities such as clearing the ranges remains a critical step for these Airmen.

"When the notification for personnel needing war skills upgrade training went out a few months ago, our ranges were the only ones still operational at the time," said Saterfield.
"Because the ordnance consistently dropped there isn't as complicated as others it's a great way to get the newer techs an opportunity for hands-on training."

Training opportunities like this are rare due to sequestration cuts.

"Our range is still open because we have a land-use agreement with the state of Idaho and clearing these two ranges was already in the contract," said Roberts. "The money had already been allocated, so we were able to go ahead with the operation.

"The annual clearance ensures the bombing range can continue to be used safely by both civilian and military personnel which as EOD is our number one priority," he continued.

Dempsey Discusses U.S.-Egyptian Military Relations

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2013 – U.S. and Egyptian military leaders are building on relationships developed over more than 30 years as Egypt goes through political turmoil, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a July 3 interview with CNN.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
President Barack Obama meets with members of his national security team, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, to discuss the situation in Egypt, in the Situation Room of the White House, July 3, 2013. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
During the interview, CNN correspondent Candy Crowley spoke with Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, before the Egyptian military forced out President Mohammed Morsi, in preparation for a “State of the Union” show that will air July 7.

DOD leaders have spoken with Egyptian leaders -- including the military chief, Army Col. Gen. Abdul Fatah al-Sisi -- since demonstrations against the Morsi regime escalated in late June, department officials said.

U.S. military leaders have a close working relationship with Egyptian leaders, built on years of officer exchanges, joint exercises and operations. The U.S. military was working with the Egyptians to help the military define its way under a new system, Dempsey said.

“The armed forces ran the country for several decades, and they were transitioning themselves into their role in a democracy,” Dempsey told Crowley. “I’m not in the know about exactly what they’re going to do.”

Dempsey said his conversations with the Egyptians revolved around getting assurances that the military would protect U.S. citizens in the country.

“I wanted to encourage them to protect all the Egyptian people, not to take sides in any particular issue, and to ensure that they were a part of the resolution of this, but in their proper role as a military which is to ensure stability, but not try to influence the outcome,” Dempsey said.

The Egyptian leaders listened to the chairman’s concerns, he said, noting that “at the end of the day, it’s their country and they will find their way. But there will be consequences if it’s badly handled.”

Morsi has been forced from office and Adlay Mansour has taken his place.

U.S. Military Conducts Missile Defense Test

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2013 – The Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Air Force’s 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and U.S. Northern Command conducted an integrated exercise and flight test today of the ground-based midcourse defense element of the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, according to a Defense Department news release issued today.

Although a primary objective was the intercept of a long-range ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, an intercept was not achieved, according to the release.

The interceptor missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the release said.
Program officials will conduct an extensive review to determine the cause or causes of any anomalies which may have prevented a successful intercept, according to the release.