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UTANG EOD responds to local threat

An explosives ordinance disposal technician in a US Air Force uniform, works on a simulated explosive device during a training exercise.

Staff Sgt. Michael DeLeon, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the Utah AIr National Guard’s 151st EOD Flight, works on a simulated improvised explosive device during a training exercise at Camp Williams in Draper, Utah. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Annie Edwards).

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – On July 19, two members of the 151st Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight worked alongside the Unified Fire Authority Bomb Squad to remove a World War II Type 89 “knee mortar” from a home.

On average, the 151st EOD flight are called out to dispose of unexploded ordnance within the state about six times a year.

According to Department of Defense guidance (Joint Publication 3-42: Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal), EOD assistance can be provided under immediate response authority to assist federal, state, tribal, and local authorities when potentially explosive material or harmful military munitions create potential imminent threat to public safety. Explosive Ordnance Disposal assistance includes the mitigation, rendering safe, and disposition of suspected or detected explosive ordnance.

“The bomb squads in the area know that when they come across a military unexploded ordinance to call either Hill Air Force Base or the Utah Air National Guard,” said Master Sgt. Timothy Edwards, 151st CE/EOD Technician. “For this incident, we were contacted by the Cottonwood Heights police department who let us know there was a house that reported they had a World War II mortar.”

The police department sent a photo of the UXO to EOD prior to their arrival. This allowed them to properly identify the model of ordnance they were working with so they could determine what type of explosive was involved.

“Once we arrived and spoke to the police department, we inspected the mortar to make sure it was safe to transport,” said Edwards. “We then took it to Camp Williams to wait for a time when we can safely detonate the mortar.”

When an unexploded ordnance is found, Edwards explained the importance of not moving it and notifying the proper authorities.

“There are actually a lot of old ordnance items that use a type of explosive that will degrade over time and become unstable. Just a minor amount of friction can cause it to detonate,” said Edwards. “It’s important if you find a UXO to leave it and mark it. Then, contact the Unified Fire Department or local police department.”

Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel are trained to detect, disarm and dispose of explosive threats in the most extreme environments. Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians serve as the Air Force’s bomb squad, they perform demanding tasks in diverse environments around the world.

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