The explosive ordnance disposal team stationed on Al Dhafra Air Base performed a controlled detonation on a 2000-pound bomb May 18, 2019.
Staff Sgt. Joseph Schmidt, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineers Squadron EOD team leader, said that the bomb was no longer serviceable and could no longer be dropped from an aircraft.
The Mark 84 general-purpose bomb left a crater approximately 10-feet deep with a circumference of 25 feet. Schmidt said they used six blocks of C-4 explosives, which is the main, general demolition charge used by the EOD team.
With any detonation, however, safety is always a concern.
“Especially that size of bomb, it has a pretty big fragmentation distance,” said Schmidt. “All those pieces of metal coming off the bomb can fly. So we were almost two miles away from the bomb when we detonated it. Just to be safe from any fragmentation.”
Master Sgt. Philip Severance, 380th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron munitions lead, explained there are a variety of reasons that a munition can become unserviceable. In this case, there were too many cracks around the lug, which would make transporting it on the aircraft dangerous.
Though it isn’t a common occurrence, having the ability to dispose of munitions on ADAB saves time and money. Shipping munitions is not only costly, but also time consuming when coordinating the appropriate permissions to fly with munitions over various countries.
Severance said that disposing the munitions here frees up both air space and usable real estate for incoming serviceable munitions.
“The disposal of this bomb is just one small example of how we support the flying mission and keep the war machine moving,” said Schmidt. “We love to blow things up and when it has a tangible impact on the mission, it’s an even better feeling for us.”
When EOD is not called for disposal, they spend their days training for the safety of the base and everyone on it.
“As EOD Techs, we have a fairly diverse set of missions. We can respond to anything from an aircraft emergency or mishap, to a K9 hit on a possible VBIED, to an accident in the munitions area, and more,” said Schmidt. “When there is an incident we take pride in fixing the problem and mitigating hazards so that the aircraft can continue their combat missions as well as keep the members of ADAB safe from potential harm.”
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