KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico - Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams rarely see nuclear or radiological threats in the field but training for the worst is always the right answer.
Six Army EOD Soldiers got a chance to train specifically for these situations at Distinct Fusion 2022, a Defense Threat Reduction Agency-sponsored joint, interagency training exercise at Defense Nuclear Weapons School, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.
Distinct Fusion is a technical exchange for Department of Defense Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel. The EOD teams gained valuable insight into the training and equipment necessary to perform nuclear weapon accident and incident response actions.
“If the Army’s ever called upon, the most important thing we can do is to be prepared,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Lysen, 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD). “It has been a phenomenal training experience.”
Emphasis is placed on proper planning, realistic training and equipment maintenance ensures every EOD team is capable of successfully responding to any incident, whether it’s an improvised explosive device, unexploded ordnance or a nuclear weapon.
“It is such a niche mission set that a lot of EOD techs kick it to the curb but it is also one of the most important ones,” said Lysen. Army EOD Technicians serve as the Initial Response Force (IRF) for incidents involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), both at home and abroad.
The exercise is designed to increase knowledge of nuclear weapon stockpiles, associated weapon hazards and emergency response roles for the EOD company as well as linking information to identified individual critical tasks and established training platforms to improve mission performance.
The exercise assesses select areas within the mission to include interagency response protocols, passive diagnostics and technical reach-back to national-level teams.
During the exercise, Soldiers gained valuable insight into the training and equipment necessary. Lysen said that the exercise highlighted equipment shortages. “There’s a lot we can do to improve on that to make sure we can facilitate all adjacent agencies.
“It has been invaluable and I recommend it for all future Soldiers if they want to progress in their EOD careers,” said Lysen.