SATSOP, Wash.— An explosion rocks the ground as a shockwave rips
through the air. Smoke billows from the shattered windows of a city
bus. Chaos ensues as screaming victims scramble to exit the twisted
wreckage. Wounded and deaf passengers with a constant ringing in
their ears stumble about the aftermath of the explosion.
This is not another terrorist attack, but a training event to
prepare bomb technicians for possible future situations.
U.S. Army Spc. Henry Cordero, center, and Kyle Canada, right, both bomb technicians with the 787th Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company, 3rd EOD Battalion, use an X-ray device to aim at a simulated hidden explosive device at the abandoned Satsop Nuclear Plant near Elma, Wash., Aug. 14, 2013. Bomb technicians from across the state assembled for joint-training and the opportunity to trade techniques and procedures in their field of expertise during the three-day Raven's Challenge. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Austan Owen)
Bomb technicians from across Washington joined together
to demonstrate their skills and trade technical knowledge at
the abandoned Satsop Nuclear Power Plant near Elma, Wash.,
Aug. 14. The exercise, called Raven's Challenge, is an
annual three-day event that brings together agencies like
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Seattle port
authority, Army and Army National Guard explosive ordinance
disposal units and bomb squads from cities throughout the
The event included training lanes that ranged
from neutralizing improvised explosive devices to scenarios
involving the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Bomb
technicians also viewed the latest in remote controlled
search robots and trained to improve their ability to use
“We are here to refine the training we already
have,” said Spc. Henry Cordero, 787th Explosive Ordnance
Disposal Company, 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion.
“I love training out here with these units; I get to see
what our fellow EOD brothers have to offer.”
an Atlanta native, received praise from his superiors after
making a perfect shot at a target during one demonstration
of new technology. The target was out of sight and hidden
inside a metal box. He used an X-ray device aligned with a
targeting grid to give him exact coordinates on the target
while viewing it on a computer screen. He then set up a
precision-actuated neutralizing shot that renders explosive
devices safe by taking out key components.
said this device could be used in many situations where the
threat of a bomb is out of direct site and may be
The military EOD teams could be called
into action outside of war zones and their training areas.
Bomb threats and finding real explosive devices are a
possibility in today's society.
“This training is
designed to address live and realistic bomb scenes and to
show that military and law enforcement can work together
side by side to disrupt devices and keep the public safe,”
said ATF special agent Helen Dunkel.
they want to ensure if an incident occurs that is outside
the scope of civilian authorities and the military needs to
be called in that it wouldn't be the first time the teams
had worked together.
Sgt. 1st Class Elliot Bray,
platoon sergeant, 787th EOD Co., said an exercise like this
allows both military and civilian bomb technicians to
exchange ideas and expertise in their field. Bray has
encountered more than 200 improvised explosive devices
during his deployments to Afghanistan. He emphasized that
his focus in a warzone was always to neutralize the threat
as quick as possible with a secondary focus on evidence
collection because they could come under enemy fire at
He said that during an exercise like Raven's
Challenge, his soldiers get an opportunity to see how
civilian authorities handle a situation. Both agencies want
to neutralize the bomb, however civilian teams are able to
take more time and focus on evidence collection to catch the
person responsible for the threat. He said that this
training teaches his soldiers more about the evidence
collection process and the soldiers can share their
experiences having dealt with numerous devices.
all the training and team building the various agencies left
with new ideas and a strong foundation for a working
relationship in the future. They hope their skills won't be
tested, but are ready for any challenge.
By U.S. Army Sgt. Austan Owen
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