JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. –
Squadrons from the 87th Civil Engineering Explosive Ordnance Disposal, 514th CE, 914th CE and 621st Contingency Response Wing conducted a field training exercise, FTX, on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst ranges during the week of Aug. 8-11.
The FTX enhanced mission readiness through multiple scenarios that tested the EOD airmen and their capabilities to conduct the proper steps necessary in a real-world situation. The four-day training included interrogating suspected IEDs, counteracting a hostage scenario, clearing villages and conducting airfield clearance.
The hands-on training lasted throughout the night, simulating real-life scenarios. It featured explosive detonations to mimic the sounds of live ordnance to implement the most realistic training possible.
“This exercise provides a challenge, helps determine better training and gives experience in what would be a deployed environment,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Riddensdale, 87th CES EOD Team Leader. “Our number one priority is to save lives; nothing comes above that.”
This annual training provides the opportunity to collaborate with other units, which is crucial to mission success and creates a family-like bond, according to Staff Sgt. Jonathan Riddensdale.
“The impact EOD makes is significant, often times a situation arises and completely halts operations,” stated U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kenneth Maurer, 87th CES EOD Team Leader and non-commisioned officer in command of training. “Being EOD, sometimes we’re the only people able to solve the problem at hand.”
The EOD team intends to conduct the training annually, as it prepares Airmen for present-day conflict environments.