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EOD Airmen help destroy old rockets

by Staff Sgt. Marcus McDonald
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

10/19/2005 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan -- Airmen and Soldiers joined forces at a former Soviet munitions dump near here to transport and destroy three 5,000-pound rockets.

If not destroyed, the rockets could have posed a threat to U.S. and coalition forces serving here as part of the ongoing global war on terrorism, officials said.

Lessons learned from the joint operation will help validate explosive ordnance disposal procedures and improve information available to EOD technicians throughout the Department of Defense.

“After more than two months of planning, we teamed up with the Army EOD, vehicle maintenance and ammo Soldiers to transport the three rockets from a former Soviet ammunition supply point to a secure site where they were later destroyed,” said Tech. Sgt. Dustin Prowell.

Sergeant Prowell is noncommissioned officer in charge of the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight here. He and the rest of his Air Force EOD team deployed here from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

“Each of the rockets contained more than 2,000 pounds of propellant, which could have proved deadly to our forces if they found their way into the wrong hands,” said Sergeant Prowell, who is from Roseburg, Ore. “Our job Oct. 15 was to eliminate that threat.”

Army Sgt. William Berry, from the 23rd Ordnance Company at Miesau, Germany, said his team’s interaction with Airmen has always proven beneficial.

“We regularly work alongside our Air Force counterparts to help get whatever job needs to be done -- in a timely manner,” said Sergeant Berry, who is from Pensacola, Fla. “The best part of our interaction is that we can, in support of the ongoing war effort, move and dispose of ammunition whenever called upon.”

Senior Airman Sabrina Baker, an EOD equipment troop, said she is enjoying her work here.

“One of the best parts of our job is that it is out of the ordinary,” Airman Baker said. “Everyone contributes their piece of the overall puzzle -- but our job is unique.

“Not many people can say they defuse bombs and blow things up for a living,” she said.

The Airman said it is rewarding knowing her job directly impacts U.S. and coalition forces as well as the local community.

“By going out and clearing these hazards, we are helping prevent accidents and improving the area and overall well-being of the people of Afghanistan,” she said.

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