NEWS | July 14, 2016

No second chances

By Airman 1st Class Kevin West Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Some jobs in the Air Force take Airmen into the sky, while others keep them on the ground. But one in particular puts Airmen within an arm's reach of explosives.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen are tasked with a job that many would not be willing to do. They serve as the Air Force's bomb squad and are trained to detect, disarm, detonate and dispose of explosive threats all over the world.

Luckily there are 18 Airmen from the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. who are trained to handle explosives and are willing to do so.

Although EOD is not a career some people would volunteer for, Tech. Sgt. Anthony Sennhenn, NCO in charge of the 628th CES, EOD Flt. has wanted to work with explosives since his youth.

"I really wanted to be on the bomb squad when I was kid," said Sennhenn. "I liked explosions and fireworks. When I joined the Air Force I was flipping through the book of jobs and saw explosive ordnance. I was like 'that is like the bomb squad, except way cooler.' Here I am with no regrets."

Members of EOD are highly trained to dispose of hazardous explosives, chemical biological and nuclear weapons, and use many tools such as bomb suits and bomb disposal robots.

"We practice with tools that will disarm fuses and tools to defeat improvised explosive devices," said Sennhenn. "Some days we do big shots with lots of explosives and others we do the basics like remembering how to safely handle explosives."

Despite how dangerous their job seems, Sennhenn has full confidence in his training.

"The training is so intense that I have never been terrified or scared doing the job," said Sennhenn. "I have so much faith in my training. There's always a chance that things go can go crazy, but that is the same thing as driving to work every day."

The Airmen here have a unique aspect to their duties due to Charleston's rich history. They work alongside local authorities to recover old ordnance from the community.

"We will go downtown and pick up cannon balls from the Civil War and old grenades that World War II soldiers brought home as souvenirs from the war," said Sennhenn.

EOD also works closely with the 628th Security Forces Squadron military working dogs and the Secret Service to support regional visits from the president and his staff.

"If the Secret Service is in the area and needs our help we will send a team to search buildings and vehicles for explosive hazards," said Sennhenn. "With elections right around the corner I imagine we will be working with them more often."

The Airmen at EOD train constantly to be proficient in any mission they undertake. They are required to work on their physical fitness on every duty day. Sennhenn is proud to be part of a great team and is impressed with the passion the Airmen in his career field maintain.

"Since basic training I have been surrounded by people who love what we do, "said Sennhenn. "As an instructor, the students are so motivated to be in EOD that I forget a lot of times that people don't want to do this job. It's weird when people mention they could not do what we do. I'm surrounded by so many motivated people that our passion keeps us going."