An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 26, 2014

Ordnance Airmen Focus on Preventing Explosions of Another Nature

By Airman 1st Class Kyle J. Johnson JBER Public Affairs

Explosive Ordnance Disposal's mission is to safely dispose of potentially deadly explosive devices.

With the extreme stress of this mission, even the best-equipped Airman may find himself facing unexploded ordnance of an entirely different kind.

In a job that exposes workers to potentially devastating amounts of kinetic energy on a daily basis, EOD personnel are subjected to a large amount of mental and emotional stress.

Without effectively and efficiently removing it, this emotional bomb can cause serious professional and personal damage.

This is where the mental pillar of strength comes in, and EOD is equipped with a variety of tools to enhance it.

One such resource is the EOD safety day, an annual Air Force-wide requirement.

The EOD Airmen on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson hosted theirs Tuesday.

"Safety is our job," said Air Force Master Sgt. Tobin Bryant, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of quality assurance for 673d Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight. "Before they put those three little letters, O-R-M, together, we were already doing [operational risk management]."

As a part of the safety day, EOD Airmen learn from past cases by examining what went wrong and teaching others what could have been done differently, said Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Adrian, superintendent of the flight.

Newer EOD Airmen will typically do case studies on these events and then offer a briefing explaining what could have been done differently, Adrian said.

"These guys paid the ultimate sacrifice," Adrian said. "Us looking back at that to figure out what happened ... it's good training."
This is not an easy process with a career field so small. It is not uncommon to have had personal experiences with the individual in the case, Adrian said.

"It's hard for a lot of us, especially when it's someone close to you, who you've been stationed with," Adrian explained. "Next thing you know, you've moved on and he's been killed."

During wartime operations, deployments for EOD members are usually six months long, and involve a lot of stress before and after the deployment - not just during.

"During the wars, it was constantly deploying, coming back, and reintegrating before deploying again," Bryant said.

Adrian said the Airmen have to shift into a radically different way of thinking and back every six months.

"The Airman has the mindset of 'I'm getting blown up, I'm getting shot at, I'm killing people', and then ... Boom, he's home, and his kid is excited and screaming, 'Daddy I want to do this. I want to do that.' And he freaks out because he doesn't know how to handle it."

Learning to make those critical transitions from deployment to home and back again is just one focus of the safety day.
The other is keeping sanity while on the job; whether disposing of explosives in Afghanistan or in Alaska, no two incidents are the same.

"Every case is different; you don't know what you're walking into," Bryant said. "It's tough and you have to stick together."

While the safety day touches on physical safety, mental safety and  resiliency take top billing.

A large part of that focus is on nurturing strong relationships with co-workers.

After the case studies, EOD technicians around the Air Force usually have a barbeque or a lunch with families and enjoy a little bit of companionship. "

We're really close," Adrian said. "We take care of one another."

Bryant explained as people go through life struggles, co-workers will come together and support them. 

"People go through [medical evaluation] boards, divorces, deployments - and all that changes the person," Bryant said. "It's affected all the shops."

"Our career field is fueled by guys that are wanting to be here," said Senior Airman Robert Reynolds, an EOD apprentice with the 637d CES. "When you have an entire shop full of guys who are like that, you all draw together."

Helping each other - through the bomb disposal and the barbecues - can get Airmen past  the tough times.

"Resiliency is not about what has happened to me, but what do I do now," Reynolds said.

Just like the Airmen keep their gear tidy and ready to go, they take time to prepare their most valuable resource.

"Now it's time to start fixing ourselves," said Bryant. "Not by shining the equipment and organizing the shop, but fixing ourselves as a flight, as individuals."
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
337,482
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Strengthens Cooperation in Visit to Timor-Leste
U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Strengthens Cooperation in Visit to Timor-Leste
Feb. 3, 2023 - Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Timor-Leste Feb. 1-3, to strengthen our security cooperation and enduring partnership between our countries.In meetings with President José Ramos-Horta,...

7th Fleet Travels to the Republic of Korea for 7th Annual Anti-Submarine Warfare Cooperation Committee Meeting
BUSAN, Republic of Korea (Feb. 2, 2023) Vice Admiral Kim Jung-soo, Commander Republic of Korea Fleet leads Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, Commander, US 7th Fleet and Staff on a tour of the flight deck aboard the Republic of Korea Navy Dokdo-class Amphibious Assault Ship ROKS Marado (LPH-6112) in Busan, ROK. Vice Adm. Thomas is in the Republic of Korea to attend the 7th annual Anti-submarine Warfare Cooperation Committee meeting. (Courtesy photo by Commander, ROK Fleet Public Affairs)
Feb. 3, 2023 - BUSAN, Republic of Korea - Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visited Commander, Republic of Korea Fleet (CRF) Base in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK), Feb. 2, to attend the 7th Anti-Submarine Warfare...

B-1B Lancers return to Indo-Pacific for BTF missions
A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, prepares to take off from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota for a Bomber Task Force deployment, Jan. 31, 2023. BTF deployments are designed to showcase the Air Force’s ability to deter, deny and dominate any influence or aggression from adversaries or competitors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jake Jacobsen)
Feb. 3, 2023 - B-1B Lancers assigned to the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota landed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb 1...

Unified Pacific Intel Wargame “Pacific Winds” offers key insights to deter potential adversaries and address global challenges
Australian Army Maj. Gen. Chris Smith, U.S. Army Pacific Deputy Commanding General Strategy and Plans (right), and New Zealand Army Brig. Gen. Rose King, New Zealand Army Deputy Chief of Staff (center), listen to a brief during the Unified Pacific Wargame Series intelligence-focused
Feb. 2, 2023 - U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General Gen. Charles A. Flynn hosted senior leaders from across the Department of Defense and several allied nations as part of the Unified Pacific Wargame Series intelligence-focused event...

Austin Visit to Philippine Base Highlights Benefits of U.S-Philippine Alliance
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III meets with Philippine Chief of Defense, Gen. Andres Centino at Camp Navarro, Zamboanga, Philippines, Feb. 1, 2023. Austin is traveling to Asia to meet with senior government and military leaders in Korea and the Philippines to advance regional stability, further strengthen the defense partnerships and reaffirm the deep commitment of the United States to work in concert with allies and partners in support of the shared vision of preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Feb. 2, 2023 - Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III visited Camp Navarro in Mindanao, Philippines, where U.S. and Philippine service members are working closely together to ensure long-term prosperity of the region...