Ramstein community builds bonds with EOD ruck and run

An explosive ordnance disposal Airman with the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron climbs over a wall during a special ruck and run event in support of the Combined Federal Campaign. The 786th CES’s EOD flight conducts ruck marches at the last Friday of every month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

An explosive ordnance disposal Airman with the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron climbs over a wall during a special ruck and run event in support of the Combined Federal Campaign. The 786th CES’s EOD flight conducts ruck marches at the last Friday of every month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

Participants in the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal ruck and run complete their final lap at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 28, 2016. Although 786th CES’s EOD flight conducts ruck marches every month, the October ruck and run was a special Halloween-themed event designed to support the Combined Federal Campaign. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

Participants in the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal ruck and run complete their final lap at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 28, 2016. Although 786th CES’s EOD flight conducts ruck marches every month, the October ruck and run was a special Halloween-themed event designed to support the Combined Federal Campaign. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

Ruck and run participants march along the flightline at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 28, 2016. The event was sponsored by the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal flight in support of the Combined Federal Campaign. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

Ruck and run participants march along the flightline at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 28, 2016. The event was sponsored by the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal flight in support of the Combined Federal Campaign. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

786th Civil Engineer Squadron supervisor Staff Sgt. Israel Ortiz, left, participates in a ruck and run event with Staff Sgt. Berron Johnson, 786th CES NCO in charge of structures at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 28, 2016. The 786th CES’s explosive ordnance disposal flight conducts monthly ruck marches which are open to participation from any unit on Ramstein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

786th Civil Engineer Squadron supervisor Staff Sgt. Israel Ortiz, left, participates in a ruck and run event with Staff Sgt. Berron Johnson, 786th CES NCO in charge of structures at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 28, 2016. The 786th CES’s explosive ordnance disposal flight conducts monthly ruck marches which are open to participation from any unit on Ramstein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The 786th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight conducted a Halloween-themed “ruck and run” event here, Oct. 28, 2016.

EOD Airmen conduct ruck marches on the last Friday of every month as one of the ways to keep themselves ready for their mission.

October’s ruck march was a special one, not only because of its theme but also because it was made to support the Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas.

The event was a good chance to do something different for physical training, and to support a charitable cause a participant may care about, said Airman 1st Class Anthony Griffin, 786th CES EOD apprentice.

“The purpose of the ruck and run was to promote good physical and mental health, as well as raise money for the CFC,” Griffin said. “I did not expect the amount of people that showed up mainly because we started to advertise so close to the event date, but I was happy to see everyone come out and support us and the CFC.”

Two events which supplemented the ruck and run were a 6-foot wall climb and gas can carry. Participants set out in pairs, and the fastest teams to finish the course were given prizes.

Griffin was proud of the turnout for the event, saying the social bonds formed were just as important as the physical benefits gained from the event.

“Seeing the event come and pass has been rewarding,” He said. “Not only did it promote the physical and mental pillars of the Air Force. It also helped promote the social pillar. I believe camaraderie was built between everyone.”

There are times during deployments when EOD Airmen have to hike to the location of their mission and must be physically and mentally ready, said Staff Sgt. Andrew Trelly, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal craftsman.

“I have been in a situation where the missions required me to walk long distances with my gear in my pack,” Trelly said. “It definitely keeps me ready and focused on what I have done and what I can possibly do. There are a lot of places we have been to as a career field where you cannot take a vehicle, so we have to be able to whittle down the gear that we would need in order to actually physically carry it out, get to the objective, complete the objective and then return.”

Besides helping physically prepare for potential missions, hiking as a unit fosters a sense of camaraderie that might prove helpful in difficult situations.

The ruck marches teach the Airmen to depend on each other for mutual support and to execute pillars of resiliency, said Capt. Catherine Robertson, 786th CES EOD flight commander.

“There are times when we have to rely on the person next to us to get us to wherever our operation is,” Robertson said. “Doing these rucks and staying with a wingman are vital to us executing our mission.”

“It helps because you get to mingle with other units,” Robertson said. “You get to meet people that you may not see on a daily basis – build a network. It’s important that we get folks together and do this on a monthly basis.

In this way we can rally people across the wing, across the base and bring everybody out for just a little fun,” She continued, “Get out of the office, get out of the regular day-to-day activities and be better at fitness while you’re doing it.”

Whether the individuals participating in the ruck march belong to EOD or not, the objective can apply to all Airmen: to stay ready and get better.

“As a career field we have learned lessons from the past,” Trelly said. “We will not forget those lessons we have learned; we will continue to strive to be able to support the mission no matter what it may be.”