News>Annual range clearance a blast for EOD Airmen
Munitions are laid out before being safety demolished by the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal Airmen June 22, 2012, inside the Saylor Creek range area of Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Mountain Home AFB, along with eight other Air Force installations, used this time as an “initial range clearance” qualification for EOD 5 level certifications. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Humphus)
M112 charge demolition C-4 covers more than 2,000 rounds of .762 ammunition and assorted weapons before being demolished by explosive ordnance disposal Airmen June 22, 2012, at the Saylor Creek range area of Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. EOD personnel used military vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to clear approximately 124,000 acres across two ranges. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Humphus)
by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/11/2012 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 366th Civil Engineering Squadron conducted the annual Saylor Creek and Juniper Butte range clearance June 4 through 22 here.
Explosive ordnance disposal personnel used military vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to clear approximately 124,000 acres across two ranges.
"Clearing the ranges went extremely well considering all the hazards and issues which occur when dealing with this type of unique assignment," said Staff Sgt. Thane Adams, 366th CES EOD journeyman and range clearance team chief. "After a specific amount of munitions are dropped a range clearance must be executed in order to ensure the safety of base personnel.
According to Adams, once all the volunteers including medical technicians and qualified drivers are selected, the training process begins. Ensuring all personnel are capable to complete the required tasks.
Mountain Home AFB, along with eight other Air Force installations, used this time as an "initial range clearance" qualification for EOD 5 level certifications. Additionally, the Airmen successfully destroyed more than 250 weapons for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"We also worked with the local ATF to ensure munitions from closed cases were destroyed," said Adams. "This way we are able to provide even more hands-on training to Airmen and an opportunity to assist other government agency professionals.
"Leaving the range with the knowledge it is safe for further use is extremely satisfying to us," continued Adams. "Although the task is dangerous and extremely difficult, it's our job as EOD professionals to ensure it happens effectively and in a timely manner."
For one Gunfighter, this particular range clearance was a part of his career he will never forget.
"This was my first time experiencing a range clearance," said Staff Sgt. Gregory Wheeler, 366th CES EOD apprentice. "From learning about range operations to working with and destroying the munitions, everything was different and extremely exciting."