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Hill’s 775th EOD holds international knowledge exchange with Poland and the UK

  • Published
  • By Donovan Potter 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE – Hill’s 775th Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight hosted a 10-day international knowledge exchange here with EOD military members from Poland and the United Kingdom last month. The exchange directly supports strategic and operational objectives of strengthening partnerships in the critical European theater.

Members from the three North Atlantic Treaty Organization partner nations shared best practices learned while encountering EOD challenges in the EUCOM theater including dealing with drones, trench warfare and airfield recovery.

Master Sgt. Matthew Childers, 775th EOD flight chief said the first international exchange event happened at Nellis AFB in December. Hill EOD members were invited to attend and accepted the invitation to host the next knowledge exchange in April.

“Hill was a good fit because we support the Utah Test and Training Range with range clearances,” Childers said. “Being a large range base flight, we have the manning and equipment to set up and be successful with something of this magnitude.”

Training interoperability during peacetime is very beneficial because EOD is a joint community that performs as one team of partner nations when deployed.

“It was great for everyone to discuss and share ideas on how EOD will be employed in the next conflict and what steps are being taken to prepare for it,” Childers said. “EOD technicians, no matter what country they are from, are always thinking about the next threat or challenge that lies ahead.”

During this knowledge exchange, the Hill EOD members demonstrated the effects that standoff munition disruption has on live ordnance and the percentage of engaging ordnance. The UTTR is one of the few places in the country that EOD can employ both its designated marksman rifles and it’s new Zeus III laser system for this capability.

“Our partners integrated with the Air Force EOD technicians to tackle different EOD problems,” Childers said. “They had to work as a team and mesh tactics, techniques and operating procedures with past experiences to safely render-safe and defeat various incendiary devices and unexploded ordnance scenarios.”

The foreign EOD professionals also taught our Hill EOD team some of the valuable lessons learned during real-world training with Ukrainian EOD technicians.

“The Hill EOD flight got to train on specific EUCOM threats and were trained by our NATO partners who were facing trench warfare and unmanned aerial threats,” Childers said. “We also learned specific protective works when disposing of a UXO near vital resources and mission planning.”

Childers said he was impressed with his NATO partner’s willingness to share and teach everyone about how to operate safely and effectively in various scenarios, while having an open mind about sharing a solution that currently works and is not necessarily the only way to handle a challenge.

“The most eye-opening procedure was the trench warfare scenario,” Childers said. “What it takes to safely clear a small trench system and all the threats that are faced when clearing a trench is vast and can come from all angles while thinking about all the possible threats including while being under fire.”

Childers said the event was successful because of the hard work and preparation of a selfless group of professionals, looking to support their fellow EOD technician.

“This was an amazing event, because I work with an amazing team,” Childers said.
“Everyone knew the plan for each day, and everyone made it happen. No one was looking for recognition or was worried about being in charge.”

Hill’s 775th EOD technicians will head to Poland this fall to further joint interoperability at a multinational training event.