Skip to comments.The women of explosive ordnance disposal
Posted on 03/22/2010 6:42:59 PM PDT by SandRat
3/22/2010 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- While every job in the Air Force is important for the success of the mission, there are some jobs that leave no room for error.
One such career field is the explosive ordnance disposal specialty whose motto, "Initial Success or Total Failure" are words to live by -- literally.
EOD technicians conduct post blast analysis to determine techniques, tactics, procedures of the enemy, train the force on proper techniques when faced with improvised explosive devices, provide clearing and explosive hazard support for combat Airmen and support flying operations by rendering aircraft safe of any explosive hazards that may arise. They also support local communities at their home stations by responding to any calls when munitions are found.
"The (United States Air Force) EOD program is a very strong specialty, and the perspective and diversity our female Airmen bring with them has been vital to our success," said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Hodges, the EOD career field manager. "These warriors are standing side-by-side with their male counterparts, engaged in life-threatening missions, saving lives every day."
The Air Force has lost 12 EOD technicians to the war on terrorism. One of them one was Senior Airman Elizabeth Lonki, a 23-year-old EOD technician from New Castle, Del., assigned to the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. She was killed Jan. 7, 2007, when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated while she and her team were performing duties in the Baghdad area.
A far cry from "sugar and spice and everything nice", there are 55 female EOD technicians in the Air Force out of a total of 970. Three who serve here with the explosive ordnance disposal unit at the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. One is currently deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
While she was growing up, Senior Airman Marie Martinson said she wanted to become a scuba diver and to work with animals. She initially, went to school for art, but started taking foreign language classes, hoping to enter the Air Force as a linguist. There were no openings in that career field.
"Because of the inherent danger, you must volunteer for EOD," she said. "I told my job counselor that I wanted the furthest thing from a desk job."
Airman Martinson said her recruiter told her if she wanted the best, to go EOD because it was the most exciting job the Air Force had to offer.
"He was absolutely right; I love it," she said. "I have the coolest job in the world! It's not boring, it's exhilarating and worthwhile."
Airman Martinson recently returned from a six-month deployment to Afghanistan and said her parents are very proud of her for serving her country, but they worry about her a lot because of her career field. She tries to keep them updated, especially when deployed, to help ease their concerns.
Staff Sgt. Amber Hanlon, an EOD technician at Wright-Patterson AFB, just returned from Kandahar, Afghanistan in January. She has also deployed to Iraq several times.
During her second tour to Baghdad, Iraq, she said she and her team participated in multiple operations that encompassed the last big push by U.S. forces into a known Al-Qaeda stronghold outside Baquba, Iraq. Their efforts allowed U.S. forces the freedom of movement needed to regain control of that vital land area.
"I don't feel that gender has anything to do with gaining respect in EOD," Sergeant Hanlon said. "Every EOD tech I know judges other techs on whether they would like to work with them in combat or not.
"Respect is definitely earned in EOD since you have to trust your co-workers (or family as I consider most EOD techs) with your life on a daily basis," she said.
Senior Airmen Elizabeth Loncki in Iraq. She was killed Jan. 7, 2007, as her explosive ordnance disposal team tried to dismantle a car bomb planted near Baghdad, Iraq.
(U.S. Air Force photo)
special breed indeed.....
I can’t speak at all about their nerves, but when I was raising baby pigs (300 a week) I had young women handling the babies, as they were more dexterous, faster, and kinder than young men.
Some of that natural skill would obviously give a woman an edge in a tricky bomb situation.
Those are some brave women
But you gotta remember that women have been doing everything men can do for decades now...but we've been doing it in high heels while dancing backwards! ;)
OH yeah, but remember, we’ve gotta catch you if you fall!
Here in South Dakota there used to be an army depot called “Igloo”.”Black Hills Ordnance Depot”.
Built around 1942, it housed ammo and bombs, grenades and such.
The munitions were made by the local women and the sons of these women would talk about their mothers making munitions,
yea they say,, my mom could make a hell of a grenade
My Aunt made 500 and 1,000 lb bombs at the Cornhusker Army Ammunition plant. They poured the molten explosives into the bomb cases.
Earlier, during WW-II she had made bomb fuses at "Stop-Nut", where my mother worked as an elevator operator, being too young to work in the factory. Later it became Elgin watches.
Much later, I attended electrical engineering classes in the same building, also did most of my computer work there, since it also housed the University Computer Center. (Computer filled a room, IBM-360-65). My wife worked there as a student I/O clerk.
Dang right we can handle it. Women rule the world, now if we could just get one as President!