An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article Display
NEWS | March 27, 2019

FBI brings explosive training to JBLE

By Airman 1st Class Monica Roybal 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A team of Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents conducted a homemade explosive device joint training exercise for military working dog handlers, explosive ordnance disposal members and bomb technicians at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, March 22, 2019.

Service members from the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy took part in the specialized peroxide scents training that focuses on triacetone triperoxide, hexamethylene triperoxide diamine and urea nitrate. 

“What makes these improvised explosives especially dangerous is that the materials can be found in household items,” said Special Agent Mike Freeman, FBI training and bomb technician coordinator. “This training is unique because these scents are too sensitive and dangerous to just have sitting around. Only an FBI bomb technician can provide and handle the raw material used in this training.”

Freeman explained that canine teams at local, state and federal agencies typically store explosives like TNT (trinitrotoluene), C-4 (composition 4) and various kinds of fuses to train the dogs, but the FBI is the only agency approved to improvise peroxide materials exclusively for canine detection purposes. 

The training consisted of two elements: imprint and detection. During the imprint phase, the canines became familiar with specific scents that they would then be tested on in the detection phase. The instructors hid scent components in various parts of a warehouse where handlers were tasked with guiding their canine partners through multiple detection exercises while also receiving feedback on their performance. 

“They critiqued us very hard in order to help us learn,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Anthony Seretis, 633rd Security Forces Squadron MWD handler. “They pointed out little things we did that may cause a false response from the canines and they showed us ways to be more efficient while trying to detect.”

According to Freeman, successful detection relies heavily on the nuance and subtlety between the handler and their canine partner. The instructors made sure to observe the subconscious movements of the handlers to make them more aware of the intricacies that may influence proper detection.

“When they are working cohesively and as a symbiotic unit, a good handler and a good dog are an invaluable resource that can save lives,” Freeman said. “The relationship progresses as the dog reacts to the handler while developing their expertise. The goal is to understand the nuances and remain confident in our abilities so when we find ourselves down range in an operation or during a crisis we know exactly what needs to be done.”

Freeman said the instructors are part of a mobile unit that travels the nation providing the free training to agency partners at all levels of government. 

“This is one of our priorities and we want to provide whatever we can to our service members and do whatever we can to get them ready to go overseas to protect us,” Freeman said. “One of my concerns as a bomb tech coordinator in Hampton Roads is to bring the [military branches] together. I love it when the Army, the Navy and the Air Force work together and then eventually work with their local and state agency partners as well. The FBI depends on all of them to help us during an operation.”