Two Members of 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Clinch USSF’s EOD MasterBlaster of the Year Awards

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kadielle Shaw
  • Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs

In a momentous achievement, two members of the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Flight earned EOD MasterBlaster of the Year awards from the U.S. Space Force in 2022. This annual award recognizes outstanding performers in the EOD career field.

The recipients, U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Jonathan Vruwink, non-commissioned officer in charge of the flight’s logistics, and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Dayton Johnson, an EOD team member, were selected based on their leadership and management abilities, contributions to the EOD program, training and self-improvement, and their initiative and resourcefulness during the award period.

Vruwink, winner of the NCO category, excelled at his home station where he partnered with agencies like the Monterey Bomb Squad, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Air and Space Administration, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps engineers, and the U.S. Secret Service to conduct numerous training operations, destroy hazardous explosive items, protect the vice president, and create safe environments for Vandenberg and the local community.

Johnson, winner of the Airman category, supported the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., where he cleared 336 unexploded ordnance items and 65 tons of scrap enabling multi-national pilot training across multiple aerial bombing ranges. He also used his explosive effect knowledge and experience to provide realistic explosive device identification and post blast analysis procedures for local, federal, and law enforcement personnel.

"To receive this award, it requires a comprehensive assessment covering various aspects, including performance, leadership, and contributions to the entire EOD community," Vruwink explained.

During a joint deployment supporting U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) and Task Force Hellhound in 2022, Vruwink and Johnson exhibited exemplary conduct that went beyond the call of duty.

Notably, Vruwink saved his flight chief's life when an unexploded ordnance item spontaneously detonated during a range operation. Demonstrating quick thinking and leveraging his training, Vruwink performed life-saving medical procedures and coordinated the medical evacuation. Subsequently, he assumed command after the flight chief's departure and successfully led AFCENT’s largest EOD flight, even deploying forward to support an Army mission.

Johnson oversaw several classified programs and executed numerous forward missions in foreign countries to retrieve sensitive items. “The intelligence value of these items will benefit the entire EOD community across all four branches of the armed forces,” said Senior Master Sgt. Daniel McKnight, superintendent for the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight.

Johnson went on to emphasize the significance of this award for him and his EOD team, underscoring their profound commitment to fallen EOD members across the U.S. Air Force.

"While many people only witness the exciting aspects of our work, it is crucial to acknowledge that we do it in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice," Johnson stated. "We train tirelessly and repetitively to learn from their selflessness and incorporate their contributions into our career field.”