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Joint EOD team practices post-blast analysis

By Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi | Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | August 10, 2016

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Twenty-two Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen and Army combat engineers participated in a joint post-blast analysis training exercise Aug. 1-5, 2016 at Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station S.C.

Participants from the Kentucky Air National Guard, South Carolina Air National Guard, Army South Carolina Guard, Mac Dill Air Force Base, Fla. and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. partnered with members of the 628th Civil Engineering Squadron and 315th Civil Engineering Flight from JB Charleston for the training. 

The training, conducted by a contracting company made up of prior EOD servicemembers, included two days in a classroom reviewing concepts and three days in the field with controlled explosives.

"All the scenarios in the training program were based on situations from Afghanistan or Iraq, simulating what we actually experience in the (area of responsibility)," said Staff Sgt. Lyle Flagg, 628th CES EOD craftsman. "The purpose of the training is to ensure our teams collect as much evidence from the blast as possible."

The evidence collected from the blast helps investigators recreate the scene to determine how the device was made, how it was triggered and what the target was, added Flagg.

"Not only can we rebuild the IED with evidence, we can also find biometrics to help find the people responsible for making the explosive and the person who planted it," Flagg said. "Knowing how the IED was built can help prevent future attacks."

Although some people envision EOD Airmen going in before the blast to disarm the device, Flagg said that post-blast analysis is just as important.

"We work closely with Intel Airmen. While on a deployment, I was informed the evidence I collected after an IED exploded prevented someone from entering America," Flagg added. "It's good to know the system works."

According to Flagg, the training also strengthened the relationships between EOD servicemembers. The eight month technical school for EOD Airmen is held at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  and is a joint service school.

One Charleston Airman who recently graduated from technical school participated in the post-blast analysis training for the first time.

"I've been told post-blast analysis is one of the most common calls you get on a deployment," said Airman 1st Class Michael Frook, an EOD technician from the 628th CES who has been on the job for two months. "Having the live explosive aspect in the training and seeing the effects of parts being blown to pieces was useful in putting the concepts together. I think the training went really well and I learned a lot of new information which will be useful on deployments."

Senior Airman Joshua Sims, 6th Civil Engineering Squadron, MacDill AFB, said working with the various EOD teams was beneficial.

"This was also my first time doing the training and I learned a lot from the instructors and the teams," Sims said. "Working with the Charleston Airmen was great; they are all squared away."

Because the training is designed to replicate real IED blasts, Flagg apologized for the loud noises to the local community.

"I hope the good people of Goose Creek know we are not just blowing up stuff for fun," Flagg said. "We are doing this training for a purpose."

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