Monday, February 11, 2013

Dover EOD technicians conduct joint training with local bomb squads

by By Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/8/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- Airmen from the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight teamed up with Delaware and New Jersey State police EOD personnel to conduct training Feb. 7, 2013 at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

The breaching and improvised explosive device training took place at the former Arnold Elementary School that is scheduled to be demolished in the near future.

Master Sgt. Jennifer Allara, chief of 436 Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, said the fact that they were dealing with a building that was about to be torn down provided a great chance to conduct some valuable realistic training.

"We thought it would be the perfect opportunity to run a full-spectrum exercise on current threats," she said. "It is very valuable, not just for the explosives, but getting with our local brothers and getting to train together."

Allara, a native of Seaside, Ore., said that EOD personnel try to minimize damage within reason, but personal safety is always the first consideration.

Delaware State Police Sgt. Christopher Ennis, commander of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, said this type of training is hard to find.

"It's a fantastic opportunity," he said. "We enjoy getting with the military and seeing how they operate in the field. We learn a lot from each other."

Ennis said he has been working for a long time and he has noticed that the frequent deployments his military brothers have been serving have greatly increased their knowledge base.

"Back when I first started we were not at war and we were a bit ahead of them in dealing with military ordnance," he said. "Now they are coming back from overseas and teaching us some amazing techniques. We are now the ones behind the curve a bit."

The native of Lewes, Del., said the fact that personnel from the New Jersey State Police traveled the long distance to the base proves just how valuable the training was.

"We are collecting data off these doors in a real environment that we can only collect in this situation," he said.

Ennis said the shockwaves from blasts travel differently inside of a building than they do in an outside environment. He said they experimented with different levels of explosives to gather data on the right amount of explosives.

"We are aiming for the minimum amount of explosives necessary for a positive entry," he said. "Being able to experiment here totally takes the guess work out of the process."

The sergeant said the data could prove to be invaluable in a real-world emergency.

"It is great to get some more value out of this school before they tear it down," he said. "It has served the community for so long in the education of our youth. Now the last lessons it is facilitating could save lives."

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