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NEWS | July 30, 2014

Training and Safety Key for 647th Explosive Ordinance Disposal during RIMPAC

By Maj. Joe Blubaugh 15th Wing Public Affairs

One impact of having a multinational force participating in a large-scale exercise like RIMPAC - a maritime exercise involving 22 nations and 25,000 personnel - is the diverse types of ordinance that is brought to the host location.

That challenge has been met by the 647th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Flight, which is responsible for any ordinance that comes onto the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam flight line.

Ordinance covers a wide range on items such as munitions, but it also covers other hazardous items on an aircraft such as ejection seats. During the RIMPAC planning phase, EOD received a list of all ordinance that would be brought to the exercise, from both U.S. and foreign military. Staff Sgt. Giselle Compton, EOD Equipment Section NCOIC, says it was critical to get the information in advance.

"We had to research every item we weren't familiar with so we would be able to support the units when they arrived," Compton said.

In addition to researching unfamiliar ordinance, EOD is also covering the responsibilities of their on-base Navy EOD counterparts while they are off-island participating in the exercise.

In addition to the additional workload, RIMPAC gave flight members ample opportunity to train with their U.S. and foreign counterparts, as well as local civilian authorities. Senior Airman Vincent Irr, EOD Flight Training Manager, says the time spent with those counterparts has been time well spent.

"The perspective we've received from other countries and other services has been invaluable," Irr said. "We have our way of doing things and it's good to get a fresh perspective. It's also great to get other contacts within the EOD community for future collaboration."

One training the flight attended was a post-blast scenario that focused on collecting evidence and the proper way to hand the evidence over to the proper authorities. The training also focused on collecting evidence at an unexploded ordinance cache.
"We were able to give our counterparts ranges, facilities and aircraft so they could conduct realistic training," Irr said.

Flight personnel were also able to train with local airport authorities and Hawaiian Airlines at the Honolulu International Airport. Additional EOD teams from the Navy, Australia, Canada, South Korea and the Netherlands also participated in the training that included aircraft familiarization and use of bomb equipment on an aircraft.

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