Train how you live, Wolf Pack EOD perfects their craft

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Staff Sgt. Shawn Hewitt, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, sets sandbags around a mock bomb to minimize any debris produced after detonation during a training exercise on Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The bomb suit contains heavy body armor made to withstand the effects of a bomb. The suit is made to overlap all parts of the body for full protection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)
Staff Sgt. Shawn Hewitt, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, sets sandbags around a mock bomb to minimize any debris produced after detonation during a training exercise on Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The bomb suit contains heavy body armor made to withstand the effects of a bomb. The suit is made to overlap all parts of the body for full protection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

Train how you live, Wolf Pack EOD perfects their craft

by: Senior Airman Colville McFee, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs | .
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published: September 22, 2016

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Every assignment brings different challenges, from getting adjusted to a new mission and environment, to training and working with new people. Being in Korea is no exception to this and for one group, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, their challenges are unlike most faced in other jobs.

The task of eliminating an explosive is unique and can be daunting, but with proper training it can become a more routine duty.

Training is a critical component for all airmen and it certainly cannot be understated for EOD members as it could be what stands between life and death. These airmen practice every week to keep their skills sharp. Whether it is in the classroom or in the field, they are always applying what they have learned and operating at a high level.

Getting rid of the threat and protecting their fellow airmen is at the core of what they do.

Simply stated by Staff Sgt. Kyle Irr, EOD training noncommissioned officer in charge, “EOD is responsible for protecting everyone from any hazardous explosive devices.”

EOD members have an inherent risk of facing life-threatening situations but with the employment of specialized tools, those risks can be minimized.

EOD airmen assigned to the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron have access to various equipment, but one piece in particular, the Andros F-6 robot, is relied on constantly. It is used to maneuver through terrain and around buildings to assess unidentified items during training exercises and real-world missions.

The Andros F-6 is an all-terrain robot with the capability to lift items weighing up to 25 pounds and is equipped with four cameras. Its versatility is vital because it can go into just about any environment to identify hazards prior to sending in a technician.

Once it is determined an EOD technician is needed to finish a job, they don specialized gear to carry out the task.

An integral piece of that gear comes in the form of a bomb suit. It is composed of heavy body armor, covering them from head to toe, and protects the user from pressure caused by a bomb as well as any debris it produces.

After ordnance has been neutralized and the time comes to dispose of an explosive, a cautious approach is exercised.

Team members use a combination of their training, real-world experience and specific instructions to properly rid of ordnance.

Irr pointed to disposal as being a key part of what they do.

“The first course of action is to always blow up the threat to render it safe and it happens to be the coolest part of my job, being able to blow things up on a regular basis,” said Irr.

The training is challenging and the job is dangerous, yet EOD professionals continue to put their lives on the line for mission success. It is a selfless attitude shared by their tight knit community.

Tags: Kunsan, News
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