EOD Airmen maintain readiness
By Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 24, 2019
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight participated in exercise Salty Weasel at McCrady Army National Guard Base Training Center near Columbia, South Carolina, Sept. 16 – 20.
The exercise provided EOD Airmen with the opportunity to train in three-man deployment teams in order to conquer numerous deployed scenarios.
“Our Airmen are expected to counter contingency improvised explosives, limpet mines and homemade explosives,” said Capt. Weston Thomsen, 20th CES EOD flight commander. “We are trying to give them a close to realistic experience and see how they respond in stressful situations.”
Thomsen went on to say some of the IEDs being used in the exercise have pieces recovered from recent EOD operations downrange.
Throughout the exercise, EOD technicians responded to 20 operations as opposed to their standard two to four operations. Each training day lasted approximately 12 hours and consisted of four to five scenarios.
“Our teams get the opportunity to work together and integrate before deployments,” said Tech. Sgt. Vincent Irr, 20th CES EOD quality assurance technician. “During our week, each team reacted to roadside IEDs, homemade explosive lab exploitation, hostage rescue and vehicle borne IEDs.”
Team leads tested their operational skills and ability to guide and mentor the Airmen below them while team members tested their skills and responses to constantly changing mission conditions.
Salty Weasel allows Shaw’s EOD teams to train in realistic deployed environments and ensure Airmen’s readiness to accomplish the mission downrange and overcome unpredictable situations. As deployments draw near, these technicians can rely on the training provided to execute their mission, thwarting any attacks and potentially saving lives.