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Posted 10/17/2014 Printable Fact Sheet
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Small rewards program results in big explosion
Air Force explosive ordnance disposal specialists ready ammunition for a controlled detonation Sept. 1 at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan. Nearly 900 pounds of small arms ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars were turned in by provincial citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)
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"Initial Success or Total Failure"

When the presence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) makes an area too dangerous for normal operations, the U.S. Air Force relies upon its highly-trained Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians to make the area safe. Approaching their dangerous job with the grim humor of well-trained professionals, the EOD personnel's unofficial motto is "Initial Success or Total Failure." 

Air Force EOD technicians undergo extremely demanding training at the Naval School, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment, which conducts all the Department of Defense's basic EOD training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. 

The primary mission of USAF EOD is base support, which includes disarming ordnance hung on aircraft or investigating suspicious packages. In addition, they remove UXO hampering runway and airbase recovery operations, assist in clearing active bombing ranges, and provide support during trips made by the president and other important government officials. 

In support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, USAF EOD technicians were called upon to assist in what had been a primarily U.S. Army mission -- defusing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on the battlefield. Since Vietnam, no USAF EOD personnel had died while performing a safing procedure, but in March 2006, Tech. Sgt. Walter Moss, an EOD team chief, was killed while trying to safe an explosive device near Baghdad. Unfortunately, many more EOD personnel from all services lost life and limb while performing their duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Adding to the danger, EOD teams also received small arms and mortar fire while disarming IEDs. However, these Airmen understood the value of their work as one EOD stated, "For every IED we take care of, one more won't explode ... [and hurt] another civilian or coalition troop." 

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Dr. Jeff Underwood: "Initial Success or Total Failure" (00:32:06)
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