MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Handling bombs is risky business, but what makes bombs even more dangerous is the variety between explosives.
Fortunately, identifying explosives is a specialty of the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight.
For the first time ever, MacDill’s EOD team invited the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Tampa Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s bomb technicians to participate in a joint-classroom discussion on how to properly identify different types of military unexploded ordnance.
“There is a large variety of unexploded ordnance ranging from rockets, projectiles, grenades, claymores, mines, and so many more,” said Master Sgt. Elias Murawski, the 6th CES/EOD flight chief. “The purpose of this joint-training effort was to educate our civilian counterparts on the unique hazards associated with military-specific ordnance.”
There have been a total of 17 military ordnance reports within Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties this year alone requiring EOD Airmen to respond.
“Our partnership is mutually beneficial because we have a great working relationship with MacDill’s EOD team and it helps having military ordnance experts when we get reports of military-type explosives outside the base,” said Master Deputy Michael Wright, the HCSO bomb commander.
On July 19, 2015, a four-foot, M-122 WWII-era flare was discovered along St. Petersburg’s beach area, which had to be detonated on-site by HCSO’s bomb squad and MacDill’s EOD Airmen.
“By having this open classroom and discussion, it should improve coordination between departments when it comes to an unexploded ordnance,” said Murawski.
The knowledge exchanged also opened the door for MacDill’s EOD team to become more involved in the community.
“Our [former] Secretary of the Air Force expressed a desire for the Air Force to play more of an active role in the community,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Oliver, the 6th CES section chief of EOD operations. “Through the Air Force Community Partnership Initiative, MacDill EOD has built relationships with state and local public safety bomb technicians, and through this class, it effectively helps keep members of the Tampa Bay area safe.”
Bomb threats can come anywhere at any time and this means both the military and community law enforcement agencies must stay ready for what can possibly happen.
“Having this collaboration helps us speed up the process of mitigating the hazard,” said Wright. “By increasing our knowledge on military ordnances, it helps us better serve our community in the safest and fastest manner possible.”