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Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight wants you

446th Airlift Wing EOD is a volunteer duty

Be like Senior Airman Steven Profitt, 446th CES EOD technician. Photo credit: Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle

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The past decade of combat has increased the need for EOD technicians across the entire military, including within the 446th Airlift Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight on McChord Field. In fact, that need has grown urgent for the 446th EOD due to a number of its highly qualified members who have been reassigned to new EOD flights across the Air Force Reserve Command.

"We've had a brain drain and manpower drain from the 446th in order to man the other units, so now we need to build it back up," said Master Sgt. Glen Tuttle, 2010 Civil Engineer NCO of the year across the entire Air Force.  

"They took the expertise that our technicians have to get the other programs up and running and, as a result, those technicians have either become the lead or assistant program managers for the new flights," Tuttle explained.

The 446th EOD was established in 1995 and provides EOD support to both the 446th Airlift Wing and 62d Airlift Wing, as part of the associate wing concept. Its technicians offer home station support and also actively serve during deployment operations.

"The ideal EOD candidates are self starters, natural leaders who are not afraid to take charge and what I call critical thinkers," said 446th EOD superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Sursely. "Bomb builders don't always follow the same steps and in order to defeat these things we have to be able to think quickly, critically and efficiently."

"It has to be something they want to do and not something they just want to try," Tuttle said.

That much is obvious when you consider the potential danger associated with the position, not to mention the extensive training, even for reservists. EOD is a rare military field into which no one can be mandatorily trained or reassigned; it is strictly voluntary and airmen must sign a waiver before even coming into the field. Then, candidates must meet the Air Force's EOD physical standards, which are inline with special operations units, and also receive clearance before moving onto the actual training component.  

EOD training alone takes over nine months and then there is a progression tour that lasts approximately six months, during which the new technicians are able to learn through on-the-job training. Furthermore, EOD technicians are not eligible to deploy until they have been designated a 5-Level for that skill set, which takes additional time.

"The training we provide makes us safer. The knowledge we give to young airmen focuses on safety so much that it allows them to learn to respect what could happen and not to be afraid of it," Tuttle offered.

If an airman is interested in transitioning into the EOD unit, Tuttle recommended that he or she first speak to their chain of command and then reach out to one of the following 446th recruiters based on their location: Master Sgt. Kylie Costa, JBLM, 253.279.7977; Master Sgt. Charles Gillespie, Fairchild AFB, 509.370.4710; Tech. Sgt. Orlando Andujar, Tukwilla, 206.571.5857; Tech. Sgt. Warren L. Hill, Tacoma, 253.472.7877; or Staff Sgt. Daniel Nodich, Portland-Vancouver, 503.367.4864.

"EOD is a combination of technical expertise, physical prowess and mental toughness," added Sursely. "Once you're a part of EOD you have the feeling that there really isn't anything you cannot accomplish."

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