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EOD detonates to educate

EOD conducts training

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman James Boyce, 86th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal journeyman, takes a photo of a breached safe with his phone at the EOD training range on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 9, 2017. Boyce and his fellow technicians created charges out of C-4 to cut holes through the metal. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer)

EOD conducts training

Airmen assigned to the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight discuss procedures for creating C-4 charges during training at the EOD training range on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 9, 2017. The EOD technicians used C-4 to breach safes and doors to become more proficient in their job. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer)

EOD conducts training

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Gregg Donley, 86th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal apprentice, and Senior Airman James Boyce, 86th CES EOD journeyman, create shaped charges with C-4 at the EOD training range on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 9, 2017. The C-4 has a texture similar to modeling clay, which allows the EOD technicians to create whatever shape they need for each job. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer)

EOD conducts training

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Logan Keller, 86th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal apprentice, prepares to detonate a C-4 charge at the EOD training range on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 9, 2017. The charge is connected to a long detonating cord, which allows the EOD technicians to move to an area safe from the blast and potential debris before setting the explosive off. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer)

EOD conducts training

The door from a safe hangs open after 86th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians used C-4 charges to breach it at the EOD training range on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 9, 2017. The charges blew through the locking mechanism that kept people from gaining access to its contents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The 786th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight conducted an all-day training session to maintain skills and readiness at the EOD training range on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 9, 2017.

The EOD technicians used improvised techniques with small cans and C-4 to create explosives designed to break open safes and breach doors.

“Most things that we do are perishable skills so if you’re not constantly practicing those skills, you will forget them or forget the right way to do it,” said Airman 1st Class Logan Keller, 86th CES EOD apprentice. “We’re out here training mostly on improvised shape charges to see the effects from those and seeing what it will do against different targets.”

EOD technicians used the malleable C-4 “putty” to create the charges into whatever shape they needed to get the job done. The technicians used trial and error to figure out the least amount of C-4 needed to successfully accomplish each task.

“In a deployed environment, you only have a limited amount of materials,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Vaughan, 86th CES EOD craftsman. “Being able to utilize the amount that you have to your advantage is why we practice here on the range. Why would I use two blocks of C-4 when I only need half of a block? So getting some of the younger Airmen out who haven’t experienced this as much is beneficial for saving C-4 and being more proficient.”

The EOD flight can be called upon for varying situations in both their current duty station and in a deployed environment.

“Our main mission here is to support the flightline, but the anti-terrorism and force protection is what gets us more popularly known on base,” said Vaughan.

Whether there’s a suspicious package on base or an old WWII bomb dug up during construction, EOD responds to several installations around the area. Anything can happen at any time, which is why the technicians perform monthly training to keep their skills sharp.

But that’s not the only reason they come out to blow things up. The technicians lean on each other and build camaraderie within their unit.

“This is a pretty awesome family,” added Vaughan. “You have a varying span of technicians out here, some guys with multiple combat deployments and some who don’t even know how a deployment goes at this point in time. So getting out here, you can share a story and create a bond.”