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Hands-on training prepares EOD for real world operations

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Senior Airman David Hartman, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, guides a tractor carrying several BDU-50 bombs in preparation for their hands-on training at Fort Carson’s Airburst Range Aug. 19. The EOD team goes to the range at Fort Carson about once a month to do upgrade training and stay proficient in their skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Senior Airman David Hartman, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, guides a tractor carrying several BDU-50 bombs in preparation for their hands-on training at Fort Carson’s Airburst Range Aug. 19. The EOD team goes to the range at Fort Carson about once a month to do upgrade training and stay proficient in their skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Staff Sgt. J.B. Lurtz, 302nd Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, sets up the timing on a remote firing device at Fort Carson’s Airburst Range Aug. 19. Lurtz set the firing device with a five minute delay which allows them to fire from a safe distance. The EOD team goes to the range at Fort Carson about once a month to do upgrade training and stay proficient in their skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Staff Sgt. J.B. Lurtz, 302nd Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, sets up the timing on a remote firing device at Fort Carson’s Airburst Range Aug. 19. Lurtz set the firing device with a five minute delay which allows them to fire from a safe distance. The EOD team goes to the range at Fort Carson about once a month to do upgrade training and stay proficient in their skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – The 21st Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technicians lest a gaping hole through the middle of a BDU-50 bomb during shape charge training at Fort Carson’s Airburst Range Aug. 19. The EOD team goes to the range at Fort Carson about once a month to do upgrade training and stay proficient in their skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jacob Morgan)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – The 21st Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technicians lest a gaping hole through the middle of a BDU-50 bomb during shape charge training at Fort Carson’s Airburst Range Aug. 19. The EOD team goes to the range at Fort Carson about once a month to do upgrade training and stay proficient in their skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jacob Morgan)

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- A cloud of fire and smoke billows up from the other side of a berm where the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team used shaped charges at Fort Carson’s Airburst Range Aug. 19. The EOD team goes to the range at Fort Carson about once a month to do upgrade training and stay proficient in their skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jacob Morgan)

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- A cloud of fire and smoke billows up from the other side of a berm where the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team used shaped charges at Fort Carson’s Airburst Range Aug. 19. The EOD team goes to the range at Fort Carson about once a month to do upgrade training and stay proficient in their skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jacob Morgan)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The berm shook with the force of the blast. The explosion was big and it was loud. After the smoke cleared, they were able to get closer; a five foot hole in the ground glared back at them. Not 10 minutes earlier, they were right there next to the hole watching as the Airmen from the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron got ready to put their explosive ordnance disposal training to the test.

EOD technicians from the 21st CES prepare regularly for upgrade training, weapons qualifications and proficiency in their line of work. The EOD team from Peterson AFB was at Fort Carson's Airburst Range Aug. 19 to take a hands-on approach to training. The goal was to better prepare them for their inevitable step into a real-world wartime environment.

To keep skills proficient, the unit goes to Fort Carson about once a month, said Senior Airman Terry Smith, 21st CES EOD technician. The unit performed a basic demonstration of shape charges, which helps form the explosive to make it penetrate the hard shell of munitions. This is used on bombs to render them safe.

When EOD gets deployed, they're out working with explosives almost every day. They do their duty and put their lives on the line doing the very things they train for while stateside, Smith said. The day on the range was just one more step to prepare the EOD Airmen for their mission to protect people and property.

Airman 1st Class Thomas Bennett, 21st CES EOD technician, who has been at Peterson for three months, was out on the range for only the second time. For him, the hands-on training makes a world of difference when learning a new career. In EOD school, it was test after test that was the deciding factor of making it to your first base. He said the instructors really cranked up the pressure to see how well the students could handle it.

That pressure only increased when getting to Peterson.

There are eight different topics that need to be completely understood -- such as ordnance and landmine identification, aircraft explosive hazards, and improvised explosive devices -- or the wrong thing will blow up, Bennett said.

Bennett said his shop has done a great job helping him learn everything, but it's just not the same as the hands-on training they get on the range.

"You can only learn so much from reading (technical orders) or even using a training aid," Bennett said. "We could see exactly where we hit, what we needed to fix. You can't get that with eyeballing a training aid."

Because of their dedication to staying proficient with hands-on training, Bennett and the rest of the EOD team will be better prepared for when they make their way down range.

"I don't think you can be ready for deployment completely before you actually get there, but you're capable," Bennett said. "The (hands-on) training gets you ready."

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui