EOD flight safeguards Vandenberg
By Staff Sgt. Jim Araos, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 04, 2014
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Imagine walking on a sandy beach, when suddenly, a small device washes up to shore. You approach to examine the device and realize it looks similar to a miniature bomb. What do you do? Who do you call?
During the era of WWII, Vandenberg Air Force Base was an Army installation called Camp Cooke. The base developed a goal of rapidly training armored and infantry forces. Due to multiple dropped ordnance on nearly 100,000 acres of land, the
Airmen of the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight are on a constant lookout for resurfacing unexploded ordnance.
"Any ordnance you think of from WWII can possibly be found on Vandenberg," said Senior Airman Justin Campos, 30th CES EOD specialist.
Due to the unexploded ordnance sitting out for more than half a century, they become more sensitive and hazardous, however, the base populace is in safe hands.
"We ensure public safety by removing explosive, radiological and chemical hazards," described Campos.
The pinnacle of their mission on Vandenberg is to ensure that launches are successful and are free of explosive hazards.
"If there is an anomaly, we would check all of the explosives everywhere on the facility," said Campos. "After the launch we would check the rocket's ballistic gas generators, which are used to move a large door on the rocket. If they malfunction, they can create the possibility of a chemical hazard."
The 30th CES EOD flight supports and responds to a variety of response requests within California and across the world.
"Someone in the Solvang area once had an old projectile," said Staff Sgt. James Ruiz, 30th CES EOD specialist. "Instead of giving it to the proper authorities, he dumped it in a trash can. When it was eventually found, we had to evacuate a good section of Solvang to isolate the explosive hazard."
In addition to keeping Vandenberg residents safe from unexploded ordnance, EOD specialists also travel all over the world in support of the secret service.
"If someone shows up from the presidential staff, we would send two teams to check the airport, hotel, speaking locations and eating establishments to ensure that there are no explosive hazards," explained Ruiz.
EOD specialists are capable of responding to a vast array of different explosive threats, regardless if it's off, or on base.
"I may complain sometimes, but the best thing about the job is that no two days are ever the same," said Ruiz.