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Audacious Warriors EOD Training

  • Published
  • By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Meghan Skrepenski
  • 115th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs
Explosive ordnance disposal specialists from across the nation honed their skills during two weeks of intensive training known as Audacious Warrior held here and neighboring Volk Field Air National Guard Base, June 19-30, 2017.

 Audacious Warrior began six years ago as part of a larger training event, and has continued to grow and evolve each year since becoming its own exercise.

 Members of the 115th Fighter Wing EOD team and Security Forces facilitated the training for approximately 25 members from Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.

 “This training is invaluable because its staged in an environment our members would not typically get at home-station; it allows them to train as they need to for deployment,” said Tech. Sgt. Erich J. Sanford, the training noncommissioned officer in charge for the 115th FW EOD. “Newer members learn from seasoned members and together we all were all able to take something from the training.”

 According to Chief Master Sgt. Edward E. Smith, the 115th FW EOD program manager, the success of the EOD is based on knowledge and experience.

 “By bringing in teams together from all over the country, with varying levels of individual experience, we are sharing knowledge more than instructing,” said Smith. “The least experienced individual and the most experienced SNCO learn from each other.”

 “Often we have people that are retiring and we want to ensure that knowledge and skillset is retained and available for our younger members,” said Sanford. "Audacious Warrior offers career-field knowledge that you can only gain from deployment. It allows members with deployment knowledge to provide this information to our newer members in a training environment," said Sanford.

 While virtual battle-space scenarios focused on movement and communications. Additional training was included for rappelling and fast-roping from a 30-foot tower, a swim test and drown-proofing in uniform as part of rappelling certification. Pool physical training included swimming, pushups and sit-ups.

 A Fort McCoy contracted EOD team provided land navigation, 13 different tabletop training scenarios, robot platforms, mine detector training, and counter IED training.

 The exercise concluded with two members of the 115th SFS conducting combative and active shooter training.

 “The ability to train with units all over the country makes this training scenario unique,” said Master Sgt. Nathaniel P. Silvers, 115th SFS assistant unit training manager. “At your home station you have limited bodies and points of view, especially in the guard. With no one making a permanent change of station, no fresh minds or ideas are brought into play. It is amazing to see guys who have never met execute integrated team movements with such precision.”

 “The big takeaway from this training is one day participating in training just isn't enough,” said Silvers. “Exercises with multiple units involved is an invaluable tool, the chance to work with and practice with guys you have to depend on in the field is paramount."