ATF hosts explosive training at Ramstein AB

  • Published
  • By Airman Trevor Calvert
  • 86 AW/PA

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives held a post-blast training course for U.S. Air Force Airmen and other NATO allies at Ramstein Air Base, Aug. 7-11, 2023.

The week-long course trains students in explosives identification, effects of explosions, recognizing improvised explosive devices, and collecting evidence from explosions.

“The training we do is important because all across the country and all across the globe there are consistently explosives-related incidents and bombings,” said David Taylor, ATF post blast program manager. “We are able to partner with state, local, federal, international and military partners to put on this training. It allows everyone to act as a force multiplier so we can combat criminal bombings.”

The course was made up of 46 students, which consisted of U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations agents, representatives from Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands and Poland, ATF experts, and Airmen assigned to the 435th Air and Ground Operations Wing.

“The students get to go through this whole systematic approach to exploring the evidence and recovering it,” said Taylor. “Then, they put the pieces back together to recreate the scene. That’s what we want them to learn.”

The students went through five days of training from subject matter experts and hands-on activities both in the classroom and at explosive ordnance disposal controlled areas.

“This course gives us an increased capability to apply the skills in a specific and dangerous arena,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Torres, 25th Expeditionary Field Investigations Squadron commander. “Students can take these skills and immediately apply the training this course gives them.”

Students are trained through this course to identify components of bombs, how to deconstruct a potential explosive device, and examine crime scenes in order to discover what happened and who planted the explosive device or devices. Many of these skills are taken and used immediately in the workforce.

“This is a whole Air Force effort,” said Torres. “In a real incident, everyone is going to bring their unique expertise. The same language, the same training is what is going to make us more effective.”

Training with members from the U.S. military, NATO allies and non-military counterparts allows for timely and coordinated responses to dangerous crises. Torres said training like the ATF post-blast course are essential to strengthening these relationships and building trust between alliances.