EOD: 'They call the thing a Rodeo'

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Preston Cherry
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal flight participated in an improvised explosive device training exercise July 25-29, 2016 at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

The exercise, known as the IED Rodeo, represented the first of its kind at Spangdahlem and featured a multilateral event showcasing EOD members from different branches and nations, how they locate explosive devices and the steps they take to safely and effectively disarm them.

Teams that participated in the Rodeo included EOD Airmen from Spangdahlem and Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom, along with EOD technicians from the U.S. Marine Corps, Germany, Belgium and Czech Republic.

“This project was really about bringing different units together to train and experience what we do from a different perspective while using different techniques and capabilities,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Paul Hartzog, 52nd CES EOD craftsman and Rodeo coordinator.

EOD members staged six contrasting scenarios to emulate real life hazardous scenes where EOD teams put their skills to the test. Each scenario offered its own set of unique problems which had to be addressed differently from the last.

One mock scenario involved an IED in a simulated methamphetamine laboratory. Event coordinators prepped the abandoned room with dummy bombs, booby traps and other various items that would be found in an actual cookhouse.

“The more IEDs you train on, the better you are prepared for the field,” said Senior Airman Douglas Wilkens, 52nd CES EOD team member.

All members had the opportunity to participate in and observe each scenario in an effort to expand their knowledge and proficiency in the ever-changing world of IEDs.

“I really enjoyed the training here and think multiple nations need to come together and conduct training like this on a regular basis,” said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Keith Losordo, EOD team leader. “It keeps the partnership close.”