Ask the guy who’s entering EOD (Bomb Squad) School!

[sub]Due to the potential volatility of the subject matter, I’ve pre-cleared this thread with the mods. See the ‘Fine Print’ below.[/sub]

This thread has been seven years in the making; through dreams and screams, I’ve been chasing a slot into EOD School for most of my Air Force career. Tomorrow, I report in to NAVSCOLEOD, and will get set up with my initial class start date.

I say chasing because I’d had a slot earlier on, but passed it up that year as a member of my family had developed a brain tumor and I wanted to stay close to her—that’s how I ended up in RED HORSE. While with the HORSE, I’ve had good bosses encourage me to press for another slot, and bad bosses either hem and haw, or just outright stonewall me. It’s the latter two that put me into a cubicle job in Georgia, where I was absolutely miserable. I need to go get things done, and earn my keep through sweat. I’ve been blessed in life with good intelligence, a good, sturdy workin’ pair of hands, and a work ethic. And as of the 18th of August, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful wife for our first full year together, who fully supports me in pursuit of my dream job, even if she doesn’t fully understand my motivation [sub]I think she does though. . .[/sub].

But why EOD? Because not many people are willing to do it—it’s the challenge of the work, and knowing that not many people want to do the dirty job. Further, there’s a damn good market in it later on in life, and I can parlay the knowledge after the Air Force into some really good possibilities. It’s a terrific skill set, and I want to learn a good trade. Pilots get their wings. Doctors get their . . . stethoscopes (or caduceuses, or whatever). I’ve found my niche, and I want to earn that badge.

So, I’ve arrived at Eglin AFB, and tomorrow starts one of the most exciting chapters I could ever hope to write in my life’s story. Yes, I know the risks. But I know the silent, stoic payoff as well. I’m getting a little ahead of myself with posting this thread, since I was going to wait until I graduated to post an “Ask the guy on the Bomb Squad!” thread, but I’m bursting with excitement right now. Next spring, I’ll start the other, new thread.

I ain’t there yet (dun’ graduated). But I aim to be soon. . .

[sub]The Fine Print:

  1. I will not give you any information on how to build an explosive/incendiary/dangerous device—even if you claim it’s just ‘for a prank.’ Nor will I tell you how to how to safely handle one. So, don’t ask. Just call 9-1-1 (or whatever your local emergency numbers are). 2. I do not condone anyone except trained professionals (of which I hope to become) handling the aforementioned dangerous goods. Put it down, Gomer—you’re gonna get hurt. 3. I ain’t going to give you any classified information. Again, don’t ask. 4. I ain’t working for the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. I am not tracking who’s posting, nor do I care. I am not trying to “fish for terrorists."[/sub]


Thank you for your service to your country and its allies.

Be well, and return home safely to your friends and family.

So can you tell me how to build a napalm bomb? I swear it’s just for a prank!

ducks and runs
What’ll the training be like? It sounds a bit like boot camp. How well-versed were you in bombs and bomb defusion before you decided to enrol?

Red wire or blue wire?

Congrats, dude. That’s the bomb.

From what I understand, it’ll be classroom-heavy for the first month or so, and then progressing to a mixture of classroom/fieldwork, to finally more fieldwork than classroom. I originally followed around an EOD flight on my first assignment, who turned me on to the whole career field. They loaned me a few study books (which I read, 'cause, I’m like a huge geek and stuff), but that in no way qualified me to handle anything dangerous. It just whet my appetite for the work.

I figure, it’ll be a perfect way to put my E.E. degree to use too. What was the point of studying logic circuits and op amps if I’m never going to do anything with it?

Q.E.D., neither. It’s the green one. Send in the robot.

. . . or wait, maybe it’s the yellow one.

Not so long ago, I had a talk with a guy who had been an EOD tech in Iraq. He told me the story of how he’d found the first booby-trapped IED used by the insurgents - by that I mean that an IED had been placed by the side of the road, and a second IED had been hidden nearby, in an effort to kill whomever tried to defuse the first.

It was a gripping story, and I’m glad he was there to tell it.

So just how dangerous a job is it? Have you seen the statistics?

Congratulations, and much luck and success to you! :smiley:

And, BTW, I hope that’s not too tactless a question, but if it were me, I’d know exactly what I was getting into, so naturally I just assume that everybody would do likewise, and not go casually into an occupation like this one. So I trust that you know it can be dangerous.

My second question involves how you deal with the danger (or the promise of danger) on an intellectual/emotional level, and whether you feel especially well-qualified to take on a challenge that might have the rest of us peeing ourselves. :slight_smile:

What, specifically, constitutes a single ‘Smithereen’?

You said ‘ask’.

Yup, that’s part of the draw for me. I do not intend to swagger my way into it like John Wayne, thinkin’ I’m the shit–far from it. Sometimes you need brute force, and a lot of times, neurosurgeon-like finesse.

I like this question.

You have to deal with the facts. A bomb is a machine, which is designed, programmed, and built to function. It’s the human element behind the placement of that machine, or the purpose that person intends to achieve by the function of that machine that’s scary. For example, take a minefield–the Soviets lay a minefield to scare everyone into staying out of it: area denial. The landmines themselves have no interest in the matter, they’re just inanimate objects. But why the Soviets don’t want people in an area is cause for consideration. You just don’t focus on the strategic issues at that moment, you focus on the immediate problem: cleaning up the machines. Once you’ve done that, you’ve rendered Joe Stalin’s wee-wee limp, and Captain America can go up and sock 'em in the jaw.

Case in point, Eric Robert Rudolph was a’ plantin’ bombs at abortion clinics to literally put the fear of God into people. The bombs themselves didn’t know what they were doing. But, remove those bombs, and then Rudolphs is just another wacky nut.

I look at it like a mechanic working on a car. The car doesn’t care where it’s going or what it’s doing. It just does it. You can’t feel bad for the old beat-up station wagon when it hits the pedestrian, you have to go after the old fogey behind the wheel. I can just take out the carburetor and the ignition so Mr Magoo can’t hurt anyone.

I can handle machines. I just seperate it that way.

, a ‘smithereen’ is slightly smaller than an “itty-bitty bit”, but larger than something one would be murtalized into.

Mr Magoo. Man, when’s the last time anyone ever saw a cartoon with that guy?

Uh, whoops.

chaco, a ‘smithereen’ is slightly smaller than an “itty-bitty bit”, but larger than something one would be ‘murtalized’ into.

Damned code.

I knew two Navy EOD types pretty well…they worked for me in related jobs. They were good men. I hope you do well.

Tripler, congrats!
I think I’ve told the story of Hubby having to deal with a FNG engineer at the large Air Craft Manufacturer he works for, whose compatriots taught him to make exploding paper*.
Of course, it was so unstable that dropping it would have killed him.
Hubby’s team had to become a ersatz bomb squad because the closest (better) trained group was too far away.
It took several hours, but they managed to save the foolish engineer. However, a car sized patch remains in the parking lot outside the building.

*(Hubby wasn’t allowed the recipe, thank goodness.)

Hey, I actually have a question!

How long can sparklers safely stay unused? I ask because some time ago, I found 40-year old sparkers at my aunt’s house. I took the precaution of ringing the appropriate people who assured me it was safe to simply chuck them. But would that hold if they’d been considerably older? What if I find 40-year old fireworks?

I assume you’re a guy…most of the guys I’ve known throughout my life are drawn to ‘splosions and stuff that gits blowed up. Were you always messin’ with a pack of Black Cats or taping cherry bombs to Hot Wheels cars as a child?

So tell me about the robots. I assume they have a camera on them that allows you to see the tiny intricacies of the bomb, should they be visible. I want to know more about this aspect of it.

Also, if all you have to work with is a briefcase or a package or something, how do you approach those situations?

Good luck!!

Um . . . I don’t know. I do know that some explosives degrade and leak over time (the chemical compounds break down, and it actually starts oozing stuff), but I don’t know about fireworks or sparklers. I think you did the right think in calling the Fire Department.


Defusing bombs? Where’s the fun in that?

Seriously, though - congratulations, and be careful.

Because they save up all the unused explosive material and then blow it all up at once.

Hey, congratulations Tripler! I know some EOD types, and appreciate the hell out of the work you guys do.