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National robot rodeo at JB Charleston promotes STEM, safety

By Airman 1st Class Joshua R. Maund | Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | Aug. 17, 2018

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —

Members of the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal coordinated and hosted the 2018 Eastern National Robot Rodeo Aug. 13-17, 2018, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

The ENRR, which was hosted here for the first time, showcased revolutionary robotics technology in the arena of ordnance disposal. Hosting events such as this promotes the incorporation of science, technology, engineering and math into the U.S. military, which reinforces its role as a leader in innovation.

“The Eastern National Robot Rodeo helps vendors in their research and development,” said Staff Sgt. Devan Trammel, 628th Civil Engineer Squadron, EOD technician. “It also helps technicians familiarize ourselves with cutting edge robotics platforms.”

With the help of 628th EOD members, vendors set up various scenarios around Charleston in order to provide realistic demonstrations of their products. The teams from various ordnance disposal agencies then cycled through the scenarios throughout the week, putting their skills to the test in a friendly competition while also familiarizing themselves with the latest and greatest innovations in robotic technology.

“Some of the scenarios are quite challenging but all are definitely viable scenarios,” said John Moniz, Charleston County Sheriff’s Department detective. “We are always looking for the newest technology to keep our men and women as safe as possible, and this event has introduced us to some innovative technologies, which minimize the dangers of our job.”

Prior to the use of robotics, human reconnaissance and ordnance disarmament was the only plan of attack when encountering explosives. Robotics started appearing on the battlefield during WWII and through innovation have become a valuable asset to the military.

“Having been in the ordnance disposal field for about nine years, I’ve seen the technology grow and it’s incredible,” said Moniz. “These robots can have a big impact on keeping our communities safe.”

The use of robotics is becoming more common as technology advances. Innovations like this in the fields of STEM provide the Department of Defense and other agencies an avenue to protect their most valuable assets, their people.

 “This is a great opportunity to showcase our latest advancements in robotics that could potentially be lifesaving one day,” said Paul Bosscher Harris Corporation chief robotics engineer. “It’s great to see the Air Force and the other agencies here, wanting to put the best tools in the hands of our service member to keep them as safe as possible.”