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Air Force EOD trains to increase readiness

  • Published
  • By 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
  • 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Explosives Ordinance Disposal technicians from around the U.S. Air Force participated in Operation Llama Fury 3.0, an EOD-specific exercise, Aug. 7-11, 2017, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

Throughout the five-day event, EOD Airmen from Air Combat Command, Global Strike Command and Air Mobility Command, as well as a local Police Bomb Squad from Norfolk, Virginia, standardized EOD tactics, techniques and procedures through exercises that mimicked situations they could face at home or during overseas contingency missions.

“The EOD mission is to neutralize whatever explosive threat presents itself and endangers lives,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Taylor Saum, 633rd CES EOD member and OLF 3.0 exercise coordinator. “This event presents numerous EOD challenges in situations that may not be routine for the participants. Llama Fury provides an excellent measure of each EOD team’s current capability, and allows our community to share best practices.”

The evaluations, or round robin activities, encompassed identifying, safely rendering and disposing conventional and chemical ordinances as well as improvised explosive devices, which they also had to collect evidence of.

After the teams rotated through the scenarios, they applied what they learned to work together in the culminating event, the crucible.

Staff Sgt. Timothy Donnan, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team leader, described the crucible as a gauntlet of tests, which mirrored wartime missions as it tied the week’s lessons into one night operation.

“Low level is a condition that we like to try travel in when at war, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan being that night gives us the element of surprise,” said Donnan. “Just like in every kind of capability, even when driving, things are a lot different when you do them at night, and we want make sure we're always ready for that.”

According to Tech. Sgt. Isiah Armstrong, 23rd CES EOD quality assurance and training section chief, OLF 3.0 will provide far-reaching benefits for more than those who attended.

“I thought this was a great way to get them training on a scenario that’s very possible, but not a lot of technicians have come across within the career field. They learned a lot to take back to their units and integrate into their training programs,” said Armstrong. “Across the career field we now can spread this knowledge and become better and provide safety and security for military as well as civilian populations.”

As for civilian safety involving the finding of UXOs, especially in the local area, the devices are dangerous no matter what state they're in and EOD technicians or local bomb squads should handle the potential danger that may impact the local area.

“At some point Virginia has either been a battlefield or a bombing range so there were many UXOs in the community,” said Donnan, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team leader. “Civil War, Revolutionary War and modern day UXOs were still found in this area, so it's very important to get the word out that we are here.”