45th EOD Hosts Joint Agile Combat Employment Exercise

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Nicholas Graham

The 45th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) flight hosted a joint total force Agile Combat Employment exercise from May 9-11, 2023, at the Malabar training Annex in Palm Bay, Fla.

Teams from Fort Stewart, Ga., MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Fla., Moody AFB, Ga., Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., and Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., participated in this joint force exercise.

The training was organized and led by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nicholas Graham, 45th CES EOD operations section chief, utilizing the collective expertise of the flight.

After five months of meticulous planning and scenario building, the team successfully organized an exercise featuring 17 unique scenarios to challenge and enhance their abilities in airbase recovery post-attack and in overcoming area denial techniques.

“Training flow was entirely dependent on the team’s commanders, as they directed them to meet the mission-type order taskings,” said Graham. “This construct meant that each team would not get to work on every scenario, but it added realism that isn't possible in typical training offerings.”

The team strived to make the design as authentic as possible by eliminating simulations, utilizing live explosives, and using hot tools to render the training ordnance safe.

Additionally, the teams were limited to a six-passenger truck bed for tools and equipment to simulate the size and capacity of one aircraft pallet.

“Each team was allowed to pack what they thought they would need based on the exercise intelligence and did not receive additional tools,” said Graham. “Their exercise scenario was to recover an air base in the first island chain of the United States Pacific Command (PACOM) theater.”

Objectives included recovering the airfield and various facilities essential to maintain and launch aircraft from the air base.

“Teams were periodically given feedback from an EOD badge-wearing observer during the scenario and were given additional feedback at the end of each day,” said Graham.

After the exercise, the teams ran through each of the scenarios they were tasked with. They shared lessons and feedback with the 45th EOD flight to improve future iterations.

"Each member learned something extremely valuable to take back to their units," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jonathan Huffman, 45th CES EOD flight commander. "Comprehensive, challenging, and intelligence-driven training ensures all technicians will be ready for the task at hand."