MAFB EOD joins with Montana ANG EOD team for training exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Joshua Smoot
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Members of Malmstrom Air Force Base's 341st Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordinance Disposal team joined forces with the Montana Air National Guard 120th Airlift Wing EOD team for an exercise May 7 at Ft. Harrison in Helena, Montana.

Their training was split into two parts. The first part was training on improvised explosive devices that EOD technicians could expect to see overseas, and the second part was training on IEDs that they could expect to see stateside.

"The last two days we were out in the field at the limestone range dealing with overseas type IEDs that you would see in Afghanistan or Iraq," said Master Sgt. Ian Garcia, 341st CES EOD technician. "We are going over tactics, techniques and procedures they would utilize in the field to defeat them."

IEDs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

"IEDs, just the name in and of itself, could be anything in the world," Garcia said. "They can be anything the bomber could imagine."

Some examples of overseas-type IEDs include jugs loaded with five lbs. of unknown bulk explosives or ordinance rounds that have been modified. An example of a stateside IED would be a pipe bomb.

The Air Force Medium-Sized Robot is the primary equipment used by the EOD teams for dealing with IEDs. It is used both for searching and remotely removing hazardous items.

The EOD teams perform their training at Ft. Harrison because it opens up more options for them to practice and utilize their supplies.

"What's great about this range is that we have buildings, robots and supplies here," said Capt. Daniel Blomberg, 341st CES EOD flight commander. "We get to use explosives that we can't normally use on MAFB."

"Our young Airmen don't learn the exact effects of explosives by talking through it," Garcia said. "Out here, they get to see it, set up a charge, shoot the charge and they see the exact results of what happens from that charge. Then they learn what that does and how they can utilize it later on in their career."
Malmstrom and the Montana ANG's EOD teams don't just deal with explosive problems on base, they work with the surrounding communities as well.

"We work with the community a lot," Blomberg said. "We work especially with the Great Falls police department as well as the rest of the state of Montana. We and the ANG are the EOD response force for the entire state. It allows the cities to save money by not having to fund and train an entire bomb squad, because we are nearby and we can come out to work and coordinate with them to take care of whatever the problem is."

"We have a true partnership between 341st EOD team and the 120th EOD team," Garcia said. "We have the same skill set, but we do the same job, just a little different because they're National Guard and we are active duty. At any moment where we have a large scale response, we can be thrown in the mix together as a team to deal with a large IED response. With this type of training venue, it is paramount to us being able to work together in the future as an adhesive team."

Currently Malmstrom has 17 personnel assigned to 341st CES EOD team with several of those individuals overseas doing what they were training for during this exercise.