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Practicing disruption techniques against improvised explosive devices with the...Explosive ordnance disposal

20th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technicians, Senior Airmen Ken Schnorbus and Steve Conrad, prepare an explosive charge using detonating cord to disrupt the improvised explosive device.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airmen John Gordinier)

20th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technicians, Senior Airmen Ken Schnorbus and Steve Conrad, prepare an explosive charge using detonating cord to disrupt the improvised explosive device. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman John Gordinier)

20th CES EOD technicians, Senior Airmen Michael Konyu and Aaron McDowell prepare to dirupt a training IED.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airmen John Gordinier)

20th CES EOD technicians, Senior Airmen Michael Konyu and Aaron McDowell prepare to disrupt a training IED. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman John Gordinier)

An EOD technician prepares a electrical .50 caliber cartridge to fire a disruption tool.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airmen John Gordinier)

An EOD technician prepares an electrical .50 caliber cartridge to fire a disruption tool. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman John Gordinier)

20th CES EOD technicians, Senior Aiman Michael Newton and Airman 1st Class Trevor Brown position a water jet remote opening device.   (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airmen John Gordinier)

20th CES EOD technicians, Senior Aiman Michael Newton and Airman 1st Class Trevor Brown position a water jet remote opening device. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman John Gordinier)

An EOD diruption tool causes an explosion in order to diarm the IED.   (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airmen John Gordinier)

An EOD diruption tool causes an explosion in order to disarm the IED. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman John Gordinier)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Last year, Senior Airman Noah Cheney, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron, responded to an improvised explosive device call while deployed in Iraq. 

Upon arrival on scene, he discovered a mine attached to the bottom of an Iraqi police officer’s car. The police officer and his six children were still inside the house. They moved to the far end of the house to stay safe, in case of an explosion. 

Airman Cheney and other EOD technicians made a plan to disrupt the mine with a water bottle charge. 

The water bottle charge is designed to explode near an IED in order to disrupt it without exploding, said Airman Cheney. 

“The plan worked great,” he said. “And the six kids in the house were safe along with the police officer.” 

This is just one of many duties EOD technicians are trained for. 

“EOD technicians respond to calls for service both on and off base,” said Senior Airman Eric Charlton, 20th CES EOD technician. “We respond to anything from old military ordnance to suspicious packages. 

“We also support the U.S. Secret Service when the president, vice president, first lady, or foreign dignitaries travel,” he said. “We search all areas they will be traveling to from floor to ceiling to ensure their safety.” 

“The main mission of an EOD technician is to render safe any device, prevent a detonation and safely dispose of all explosives,” said Senior Airman Steve Conrad, 20th CES EOD technician. 

“The EOD team is also responsible for two bombing ranges, one here at Shaw and another in Florida,” he said. “We transverse the entire range looking for munitions that did not function. After safing and moving them to a disposal site, we detonate them.” 

With all of the responsibility and risks, training is essential. 

EOD technicians were training and experimenting with different disruption techniques used against IEDs June 1 at the proficiency range. 

“We also practice using an x-ray on multiple suspicious items found, said Airman Conrad. “After interpreting the x-ray on our laptop, we can understand how the device works and attempt to shoot the proper area with an explosive tool to disrupt the firing circuit and prevent a detonation. 

“It is good practice to go out and get some hands-on training with our tools and equipment,” he said. “This ensures we’re proficient and sharp when it matters.”