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EOD shows determination with detonation

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Some may think a career in explosive ordnance disposal is an adrenalin rushing fast paced job that is full of explosions every day. However, this it is not entirely true.

In reality, those in the career field do substantial amounts of training to be able to execute their job well when failure is not an option.

The 28th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight works with everything from planes to grenades, and being able to perform their job starts day one at technical school which, according to Airman 1st Class Andrew Perez, 28th CES EOD technician, can be very strenuous.

"Training in technical school was very fast paced and long," Perez said. "One day you will be training on grenades then immediately the next day you're testing on them and trying to deal with a problem you've never seen before."

During training, Airmen work with several types of explosives, including TNT, thermites and C-4, which are used for demolition. They also learn about conventional bombs, including projectiles and grenades, and safely clearing bombs through improvised explosives disposal.

Perez described most tech school days for EOD students as waking up at 4 a.m. for work, studying and testing, followed by physical training, and not getting home until 6 p.m. just to wake up at 4 [a.m.] again.

Training does not stop there. Upon arrival at their first duty station, new EOD personnel must go through team member certification, which requires them to get certified in their equipment, donning bomb suits, and operating reconnaissance robots.

Once a team member, EOD Airmen may train for a team leader position which requires certain qualifications - being certified in team leadership and operations in aircraft situations, IEDs, unexploded ordnance disposal, and weapons of mass destruction.

"Our range is so huge because of the different scenarios that can occur," Perez said. "We train every day so we can learn about various ordnances and multiple techniques."

When it comes to completing the mission, bombs are not the only thing EOD technicians need to be familiar with. Getting to know each other can also affect how successful the training goes.

"Teamwork is a huge thing with our career field," Perez said. "Everyone has each other's back. As a team member, it's up to us to make sure the team leader does everything safely. Just putting in your opinions and ideas can bring something up to the leader and could save his or her life."

Staff Sgt. Scott Greco, 28th CES EOD technician, added the job is definitely a lot of work with a great deal of responsibilities, but the excitement and nervousness helps keep the flight on their toes.

"We put in all this training for one moment," Greco said. "When we get to perform it on a live bomb, it's like getting that game-winning shot during a basketball game with one second on the buzzer and you win. It's the same feeling when you stop something and you save multiple lives."

EOD Airmen could face any number of situations each day, but thanks to their training they are well-prepared for whatever challenges they encounter.