JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
Explosives Ordinance Disposal technicians from around the U.S. Air Force participated in an chemical decontamination scenario Aug. 8-9, 2017, during Operation Llama Fury 3.0 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
The two-day event aimed to further the standardization of EOD training and evaluations through the chemical Unexploded Ordnance exercise.
The backstory of the scenario featured a forklift operator who dropped a projectile munition filled with nerve gas from a pallet, and then observed liquid agent leaking from the munition and initiated emergency procedures.
“We tried to target what the scenarios (operators) really don’t like doing, so we did the chemical operations and nuclear operations,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Taylor Saum, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron EOD section chief quality assurance and OLF 3.0 exercise coordinator. “The more time we spend doing these kind of scenarios, the better we will get at it. It doesn’t change overseas, it’s hot in the desert, its hot here, to be ready for the scenarios we have to do it, there's no other way to get better.”
Throughout the two days, the seven teams were exposed to rain, adding to the difficulty for of the varying exercise operations. While adjusting to those circumstances, the teams had to verify the type of munition, prevent further spread of contamination, seal the leak and package it.
“Just in the chemical operations alone, we’ve learned quite a bit and I have gotten a lot of experience,” said Airman Aaron Richards, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron EOD technician. “There's a 1,000 ways to skin a cat, so when you do something like this you get to see those different ways because how we train is different from how Andrews trains or how McGuire trains, so it’s really been helpful especially in my young career.”
The chemical UXO exercise was one of four different scenarios OLF 3.0 presented, along with nuclear, conventional and improvised explosive device scenarios.
The teams, from three different Air Force major commands and bases across the east coast, included Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina; Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina; Joint Base Andrews, Maryland; Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; Dover Air Force Base, Delaware; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; and Moody Air Force Base, Georgia participated in the exercise with Norfolk's Police Bomb Squad.
According to Staff Sergeant Timothy Donnan, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team leader, UXOs are dangerous no matter what state they're in and EOD technicians or local bomb squads should handle the potential danger that may impact the local area.
“At some point Virginia has either been a battlefield or a bombing range so there were many UXOs in the community,” said Donnan. “Civil War, Revolutionary War and modern day UXOs were still found in this area, so it's very important to get the word out that we are here.”