“Audacious Warrior” training at Fort McCoy, Volk Field hones skills for explosive ordnance disposal
FORT MCCOY, Wis. (WKBT) – Airmen, Marines and soldiers from a wide range of units participated in a 10-day exercise focused on explosive ordnance disposal at Fort McCoy and Volk Field to hone their skills and synchronize their techniques.
The 115th Fighter Wing hosted more than a dozen EOD units from across the country as part of Exercise “Audacious Warrior” from May 10 through Wednesday. The annual EOD training exercise included the 115th Fighter Emergency Management and Security Forces Wing, 432nd Civil Affairs Army Reserve Unit in Green Bay and Combat Logistics Battalion 22 in Camp Lejeune, CN
“EOD has nine sets of missions, and we try to practice as many as we can here to get our three, five, and seven levels of experience working as a team – especially the teams they’re not used to. to work”, explained the master sergeant. Matthew Vandermolen, logistics section chief of the 115th Fighter Wing who hosted Audacious Warrior.
“We are able to take advantage of all the training equipment and facilities that are available to us here,” Vandermolen said.
Security forces, EOD and emergency management typically don’t work together until there’s a real-world emergency, he said. Exercises like Audacious Warrior highlight the importance of these groups and give them the opportunity to train together to be better prepared for emergencies.
“We want to set each other up for success,” Vandermolen said, adding that security forces will most likely respond or find suspicious objects first and then seek help.
If there is a hazard in a situation, such as a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear hazard]“then we would potentially request support (from emergency management). So if we train appropriately, we know what each entity brings to the table and what it might be looking for when it comes on stage.
Vandermolen also discussed the common occurrence of the EOD working with other service branches and the need for the EOD to be prepared for these calls.
Joint Services support primarily occurs overseas in an emergency operations environment, he said.
“All EOD techs attend the same technical school and receive the same basic training, which can make it much more common for Air Force EOD teams to respond to calls for help from other branches,” said Vandermolen.
“We all speak a different language with our jargon or our terms, and when we get up here we can extract some of it,” he said. “It puts us all on the same page so we can work together more effectively.”
One of the responsibilities of an EOD member is to construct the improvised explosive devices or inert improvised explosive devices used for training.
However, Vandermolen explained that bomb makers tend to have a “signature”, varying techniques, methods and materials. Training only with members of their own EOD unit can limit exposure and training on explosives defusal.
“When you find yourself on a team with people you don’t know and they have different methods or preferences, you can add those thought processes and techniques to your skill set and bring them back to your unit,” said said Vandermolen.
Exercises such as Audacious Warrior ensure that individual units have fewer blind spots in their training, he said.
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