Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst


Joint Base MDL EOD Airmen conduct emergency response training with FBI, EPA

By Tech. Sgt. Chris Powell | Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs | July 13, 2017


Joint Base MDL explosive ordnance disposal Airmen joined forces with members of the Environmental Protection Agency, FBI and several other base agencies to participate in a three-day, multi-agency emergency response exercise here July 11-13.

Each day of the exercise focused on a unique scenario that simulated a real-world event, like the Boston Marathon, to provide participants with a realistic experience they could see in the future.

“Our exercises are typically a lot smaller, and this is more of a larger, (weapons of mass destruction) scale exercise,” said Tech. Sgt. Travis Groeschel, 87th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD technical chief of logistics. “The (exercise) gives us the opportunity to really simulate and train on how we’d respond to an operation.”

On the second day of the training, the EOD Airmen responded to a scenario where a person hid dispersal units that sprayed chemicals and radiological agents on people participating in a 10K marathon. EPA officials integrated their state-of-the-art training equipment to give the EOD Airmen a new level of training they never experienced before.

“The EPA brought us the opportunity to use larger radiation sources to trigger our devices and a plume generator that gives us the opportunity to test our equipment,” Groeschel said. “Tactics are constantly changing, and it’s important to keep up to date with those changing tactics so we can keep up the pace they’re setting and train on something realistic that we can potentially see at some point.”

Another benefit the training offered the EOD Airmen was to learn the capabilities of the other agencies and what they bring to the fight.

“When we train with these different agencies to respond to these incidents, we learn about the capabilities other agencies have,” Groeschel said. “Where we may have a limited detector or an outdated piece of equipment, we learn agencies, like the FBI, have things well beyond what we have. This (equipment) provides better detection capabilities and better information, which provides faster response.”

The EOD Airmen believe this training will help them when they will need to work with government agencies in the future.

“Interoperability like this on a grand scale is really big for us. With an exercise of this size, you’re going to have different agencies coming in to play different roles,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler Paul, 87th Air Base Wing EOD team member. “It’s important to work with these agencies to develop lines of communication to further our tactics and techniques.”
Paul said he hopes this type of training will continue and it is critical to the continued growth for him and his fellow EOD Airmen.

“It’s going to develop these skills that will stick with you the rest of your career,” he said.

emergency response EOD explosive ordinance disposal