8th MSG leaders participate in combat EOD training
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Dirt clings to his face as he reaches his left hand in front of him, blindly probing the ground. Face down, he detects something.
"I'm feeling some loose dirt!" he yells.
On a mountainous terrain at the edge of the Yellow Sea at Kunsan Air Base, Staff Sgt. Matthew Edge, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, had just detected a simulated victim operated improvised explosive device during a dismounted operation.
As Edge slowly digs around the IED, Lt. Col. Aimee "Falcon II" Alvstad, 8th Mission Support Group deputy commander, and Chief Master Sgt. David "Falcon Chief" Abell, 8th MSG superintendent, donned with 20-pound rucks, provide security for the combat training operation.
Alvstad and Abell witnessed the detection, identification, recovery and disposal of a simulated IED during a training operation conducted by U.S. Air Force explosive ordnance disposal technicians of the 8th CES as part of their hands-on immersion to the Wolf Pack, Aug. 6 here.
"Today we provided a basic demonstration of some of the dismount techniques and procedures that we use and have been using in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last 10 years," Edge said. "We try to do everything by as remote means as possible, but if an IED is located in rocky terrain, sometimes we don't have an option to use a robotic."
In the absence of a robotic, Kunsan's Big Coyote hill provided the rocky terrain for EOD technicians to practice their visual detection skills as they searched the ground for signs of human disturbance.
"EOD is sometimes referred to as a cat and mouse game," Edge said. "As soon as we successfully mitigate an IED, it seems a lot of times those who plant IEDs watch us work and see how we do certain techniques. So they would see what we did and they would change how they placed it or change something that would make our old method obsolete. We are constantly changing our methods and techniques to mitigate and dispose explosives so that we can ultimately protect the personnel and property of the U.S. Air Force."
After Edge employed classified techniques to attach detonation cord to the IED, Alvstad and Abell had the opportunity to detonate the simulated IED.
"I feel much more educated now and I also see that it's a very tough job to have," Alvstad said. "It's awesome to be around Airmen to watch them execute the mission."