NEWS | Dec. 19, 2017

EOD Olympics certify biannual training with a bang

By Staff Sgt. William A. O’Brien Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The 628th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight hosted their semi-annual EOD Olympics here Dec. 15, 2017.

The training, Operation Yule Log, was held to certify the EOD technicians on the more than 5,000 hours of training they completed the past six months. 

“Operation Yule Log takes all the information they’ve acquired during training the past six months and ties it together with several challenges an EOD team could encounter,” said Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Morrison, 628th CES NCO in charge of EOD of operations and training. “Regularly practicing and mastering these skillsets could save their lives in a deployed environment.”

The Olympic-style competition divided the flight’s junior members into two teams competing against each other in various scenarios. The competitors were required to complete these tasks while being evaluated by a senior technician.

“The evaluator scored them for the competition and got a firsthand look at what they were doing,” said Morrison. “If they got stuck or were doing something incorrectly, the evaluator was there to help them back on track.”

Each of the day’s challenges required the participants to use the skills they had learned over the past six months allowing each technician to see their strengths and weaknesses.

“We all love our job and wish we could do it all the time,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle Bushy 628th CES EOD team leader. “This training lets us put together everything we’ve trained on for the past six months. We get to see how much better we’ve gotten individually and how far we’ve come as a team. Coming together as a team is important because we always work as a team. Working together lets us learn from each other.” 

At the beginning of each scenario, the evaluators would select a technician who showed the most doubt in that particular skillset. This technique allowed members to practice their weakest skills while showing EOD leadership how effective the training and teaching tools are. 

“In a real world scenario you won’t be able to do only what you’re best at, so it’s important for them to practice the things they’re least comfortable with now,” said Senior Master Sgt. Tracy Passerotti, 628th CES EOD superintendent. “Everybody did a great job and there were no major errors made by either team. This also helps us in shaping curriculum. We can see if the messages we’re trying to send through certain training scenarios are being received.”

Passerotti was pleased with his team’s performance. He feels this is a great platform on which to build for the new year.

“These are all competitive guys. Making this a competition really brings out the best in all of them,” said Passerotti. “In EOD it’s critical to work effectively as a team and both groups did that today. I couldn’t be happier with the results. It shows we’re training effectively because they’re able to apply their skills to complicated situations.”