AFIMSC delivers Air Force EOD team competition to enterprise

  • Published
  • By Joe Bela
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Thanks to a collaboration between the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and headquarters Air Force Civil Engineering, Air Force explosive ordnance disposal teams now have a new program to build camaraderie, show their skills, learn from each other and get the chance to be named Air Force EOD Team of the Year.

Through a program first envisioned by Chief Master Sgt. Vandiver Hood, EOD career field manager at the Air Force Civil Engineer Readiness Division, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., an Air Force-wide EOD competition is coming to fruition this year.

The first ever regional explosive ordnance disposal competition was held March 28 – April 1 at the Guardian Center Training Facility in Perry, Georgia. Showcasing EOD training, mission capabilities and readiness, the event determined the Southeast Region Team of the Year from eight EOD teams from bases across that area.

“It started as a small-scale unit event when I was at Seymour Johnson [AFB, North Carolina] and grew into a popular quarterly training competition,” Hood said.

Realizing the value of similar competitive events to the EOD community, Hood continued the tradition when he was assigned to Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. Then, as the Air Force EOD career field manager, he knew what he had to do – expand the program across the Total Force by reaching out to AFIMSC.

“I have a lot of great teammates at AFIMSC and they knew how to take action,” Hood said. “AFIMSC took the concept, built it out for us and made it a reality for the entire EOD community.”

It was Master Sgt. John Johnson, EOD Program resource analyst with AFIMSC’s Installation Support Directorate, who took on the challenge in November 2021 to draft the proposal and become competition organizer.

“Upon seeing the success of the program in AFGSC, I asked how we could broaden the scope. While exploring options, I realized it would be more efficient to conduct competitions regionally and include the Total Force,” Johnson said. 

Consequently, the Air Force approved the pilot program consisting of four competitive events in 2022 – two regional events, one for the AFGSC and a grand finale to determine the best in the Air Force.

“Getting this program off the ground has taken a great deal of effort. Fortunately, we had a solid blueprint to follow,” Johnson said. “Our challenge has been to find venues large enough and capable of using explosives while running eight or more concurrent operations.

“The good news is everyone supports this program. The EOD community across the Total Force has come together to make this happen,” he added.

With the team from Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, named the Air Force EOD Southeast Region Team of the Year, the EOD community is looking to Edwards AFB, California, to host the western region event April 25-29, followed by the AFGSC competition in June and the enterprise-wide event in August. The Air Force winner will then compete with other military and civilian teams for National EOD Team of the Year honors in November. 

With AFIMSC’s support, the program will expand to 10 events in 2023 – eight regional, one AFGSC competition and a final event.

“These events provide our EOD teams with an incredible opportunity to learn from each other,” Hood said. “We can bring our Total Force – Air Force, Space Force, Guard and Reserve – together to ensure we are all training to the same high standards.