MacDill Trains local TSA

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shannon Bowman

The attacks of 9/11 have had lasting effects on national security, travel and military operations.  During the 18 years following the attacks, new security agencies were established, and measures and were implemented to deter threats to the nation.

In an effort to assist local Transportation Security Administration officers with explosives identification, the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight hosted an inter-agency training exercise, Sept. 11, 2019, at MacDill Air Force Base.

“TSA officers are the first line of defense for mass transit, and the purpose of today’s training is to familiarize them with explosives indicators,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Oswald, a 6th CES/ EOD technician.  “We want to help the TSA improve their confidence in explosives detection, and understand how damaging even a minimal amount of explosive can be to personnel, property and aircraft.”

Oswald stated that the MacDill EOD team conducts annual training for the local TSA, however the fact that this year’s training fell on 9/11 felt a little more significant.

“For the TSA personnel, I’m certain that training on 9/11 definitely hits home,” said Oswald. “We are glad that we get to organize these trainings to offer our first-hand knowledge, and uphold our responsibility to the community.”

According to Luis Cruz, a TSA officer at the Tampa International Airport, having the opportunity to train with MacDill’s EOD team was very helpful experience.

“To actually go out to the bomb range and see the effects of materials we could potentially deal with gives us new level of respect for the job,” said Cruz. “This joint training is another way we can be sure that we have the knowledge and tools to safely and efficiently get anyone who is traveling to their destination, and back home again.”

Although the training was not intentionally scheduled to occur on 9/11, Oswald explained that MacDill’s EOD Airmen were even more motivated to train with and demonstrate the effects of multiple types of explosive devices for the local TSA officers at MacDill’s bomb range.

“We never want to see anything like the 9/11 attacks happen again,” said Oswald. “We are happy to do anything we can to help the TSA deter threats and ensure public safety.”