Nearly 60 Airmen from 10 states as well as teams of international service members who are part of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams trained at Fort McCoy for 12 days in late June to early July as part of Exercise Audacious Warrior 2018.

Training also took place at Volk Field, Wis., for the EOD Airmen, said Chief Master Sgt. Edward Smith with the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 115th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Flight at Madison. Smith serves as a program chief for EOD National Guard Airmen across the country.

"This is the eighth year we're doing this training, and it has grown every year," Smith said.

Air National Guard Airmen from Oregon, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Nebraska participated in the training. The training was supported on post by the Fort McCoy Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) training team that includes Shannon Frey and Adam Kodra, both with contractor Veterans Range Solutions.

Kodra said his team worked with the 115th to build more than 60 training aids for the exercise.

"We also helped develop scenarios for training, and I was on hand to assist with training events," Kodra said.

Throughout the training, the EOD Airmen completed scenarios in convoy operations, populated-area responses for IEDs, and more.

"The type of training and scenarios we have changes each year," Smith said. "It changes because we have to keep up with the latest EOD tactics, techniques, and procedures. We also change it up based on feedback we received from training in previous exercises."

The exercise is also good for the Airmen to complete their annual Air Force-specific training requirements for the EOD career field, Smith said.

"Those who train here are able to satisfy those EOD-specific training requirements that can only be done in a training environment like we have for this exercise," Smith said.

And to do the training at Fort McCoy makes sense, Smith said.

"This is an exercise that allowed them more hands-on training with the tools of their trade," Smith said. "At Fort McCoy, with the support we receive and the spaces that area available, we can add more realism to give these EOD Airmen the kind of training they need to stay on the cutting edge of readiness."

In previous years, the EOD Airmen would commute from Volk Field to Fort McCoy each day - about a 50-mile round trip each day.

"Our feedback from past training told us that many of the participants didn't like all the commute time each day, and it took away more time they could have for training," Smith said. "This year, all of the participants are staying at Fort McCoy, and it has worked out well."

Senior Master Sgt. Gilbert Holcomb, 115th EOD Flight superintendent, said the training has been good for everyone involved.

"In a career field as small as ours, sharing the (tactics, techniques, and procedures) that are successful is crucial to ensuring everyone's success," he said.

EOD is one of the smallest career fields in the Air Force. Many of those who participated in the training have deployed overseas with EOD personnel from other services many times over.

Smith said he's proud of all of them. "I've been doing this a long time and it's always great to be able to do this kind of training where we can all learn from each other," he said.

Fort McCoy has supported America's armed forces since 1909. The installation's motto is to be the "Total Force Training Center." The post's varied terrain, state-of-the-art ranges, new as well as renovated facilities, and extensive support infrastructure combine to provide military personnel with an environment in which to develop and sustain the skills necessary for mission success.

Learn more about Fort McCoy online at www.mccoy.army.mil, on Facebook by searching "ftmccoy," and on Twitter by searching "usagmccoy."