22nd CES EOD clears ANG weapons range

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erin McClellan
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight conducted a clearance of Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range April 17-26 in Salina.

Smoky Hill is a detachment of the 184th Intelligence Wing, which is located at McConnell, and is primarily an air-to-ground weapons range. Aircraft from all over the country fly there to deploy their weapons and train on warfighting tactics, said Maj. Robert Campbell, 184th IW Smoky Hill ANG Range director of operations.

The range is inert-only, meaning no actual explosives are used by the aircraft that train there. Once a year, the range must be cleared of all munitions so that they can be taken off the range and recycled. EOD members accomplish this by clearing a 300-foot area around each of the range’s 150 targets. Approximately 550 munitions were located.

“Once we go through and clear every single target on the range, everything is taken to a specific point; here at Smoky Hill, it’s called EOD Circle,” said Tech. Sgt. Jason Snow, 22nd CES EOD section chief. “We are required to punch a hole in each one of these bombs. They’re all either hollow or concrete-filled, and our job is to ensure that the metal scrappers who come out here can see that there are no explosives inside.”

In order to open up the inert bombs, EOD Airmen used explosive cutting tape, which operates like an explosively-formed copper knife that works faster than the speed of sound and produces a detonation, said Staff Sgt. James Burnett, 22nd CES EOD supply NCO-in charge.

“The basis of everything we do as EOD technicians is all built on the premise that you know how to do explosive work,” said Snow. “You can’t properly dispose of a live, 500-pound bomb if you don’t know how to do the basics. Everything is based on the demolition work that we do here.”

The EOD Airmen worked closely with 184th IW personnel throughout the process, highlighting the total force partnership.

“We really appreciate the support,” said Campbell. “Out of all the Air National Guard ranges, the support we get from the 22nd [CES] EOD unit is probably the best. These guys do a tremendous job.”