EOD keep Airmen, mission safe

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

In times of war and crisis some challenges can’t be muscled through or rushed. Certain challenges call for unique knowledge and abilities. The 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight exercised its unique abilities during a range detonation Feb. 11.

The 332nd ECES EOD flight’s primary mission is force protection and aircraft support to U.S. Air Force and coalition forces in the area of responsibility.

“We take care of suspect packages, Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices, and potential chemical and biological munitions,” said Master Sgt. Neil Gertiser, 332nd ECES EOD flight chief.

In support of air operations the EOD flight responds to any weapons emergencies, such as, damaged ordnances or a severely jammed gun.

“On a day-to-day basis EOD technicians are constantly training to stay up-to-date on their proficiencies for aircraft operations, IEDs and war-time scenarios,” said Gertiser. “We also coordinate large demolitions to fulfill ammunition disposal requests. Lastly, we maintain our equipment as needed.”

EOD is essential to delivering agile combat support in theater, by providing unparalleled assistance vital to the fight against ISIS, and working toward eliminating the enemy footprint in the region.

“If there is an IED or ordnance found on base, we are here to make sure when that happens, no one gets hurt and the mission is able to continue,” Gertiser said. “[EOD] can be the difference a successful attack by the enemy and a failed attack.”

A few things may come to mind when thinking of an EOD technician; the green suit, the remote-controlled robot, and the sheer bravery required to do the job. Gertiser shared what most people take for granted when it comes to his career field.

“The biggest misconception of what EOD does is that we cut the red wire,” Gertiser said.  “It is much more complicated than that. Our responses can take time as we must come up with a plan and execute it. We calculate the risk of our actions and act upon the one that has the best chance of success.”

Even with the time-consuming stressors of the job, one EOD technician shared what he enjoys most.

“My job can take me from being on a computer and phone all morning, and then later that afternoon I could be on a range working with C-4,” said Senior Airman Brandon Tran, 332nd ECES EOD technician. “In my short time in the Air Force, I’ve had the privilege of doing some amazing things, from traveling to cool places in support of the secret service, to riding an all-terrain vehicle clearing a bombing range. I have been lucky to experience a lot during my time as an Air Force EOD Technician.

Gertiser added his love for his job is two-fold.

“First, I love to blow things up. Second, I love that when I do my job, I am saving lives. This is why I joined EOD in the first place, so that I could save lives and am still happy I can do that.”