EOD engage in fly-away training

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --


The day long mission was part of the ongoing series, Operation Enduring Training, in which four teams flew in Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from Luke AFB to the FMTR to begin their training.

“Being outside of the normal work environment, the fly-away training definitely gets the team to think they're in a real combat situation,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Wood, 56th CES EOD team leader. “We have to pretend that every move we make could be our last move even in the training environment. Using ground burst simulators and firing blanks, we try to add stress throughout the training. It helps our team work through high stress situations.”

During the fly-away mission, teams used their Combat Life Saver skills to provide medical attention to a simulated wounded casualty while calling in a addition support.

“It’s very important for our team to undergo medical evacuation training,” Wood said. “It’s not our regular job, but it quickly becomes our job if something goes wrong. Our team gaining proficiency in CLS skills has saved the lives of many EOD technicians and infantry men whom we’ve worked with in the past.”

While some had experience with medevac operations, newer EOD Airmen had the opportunity to learn a new skillset.

“To be thrown into a medical evacuation training scenario was a unique opportunity,” said Senior Airman Tahir Finley, 56th CES EOD team member. Using the helicopters mentally took us away from our normal office and put us in a deployed mindset. This training also allowed the newer members to gain knowledge from some of the more experienced team leaders who have deployed down range.”

Throughout the day, teams tackled rigorous contingency scenarios requiring teamwork and constant communication between one another.

“We’ve ran numerous training scenarios in the past only dealing with individual teams however, communicating while operating between three other teams in a close proximity was a new experience for me,” said Airman 1st Class Henry Dodd, 56th CES EOD team member.

Just as communication between the teams was critical, correspondence with other branches was vital.

“Whether in combat or in training, joint service operations are a big part of the EOD career field as a whole,” Wood said. “Being able to deploy with other branches, it’s important to learn how they communicate and run their operations.”

With continued support from the Arizona Army National Guard and the Florence Military Training Reservation, the EOD team plans to participate in more joint service training opportunities in the future.

“As far as the continual evolution of our training operations go, this is the next step,” Wood said.