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Air Force bomb squads hone their skills in Hampton Roads during Operation Llama Fury 3.0

HAMPTON, Va. - Explosive ordnance disposal experts from Air Forces bases across the eastern seaboard are in Hampton Roads this week honing their skills.

Langley Air Force Base is the host of Operation Llama Fury 3.0, which runs from August 7th to 11th.

EODs make-up the Air Force's bomb squad, trained to detect, disarm, detonate and dispose of explosive threats.

“The EOD mission is to neutralize whatever explosive threat presents itself and endangers lives,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Taylor Saum, Llama Fury 3.0 exercise coordinator.  “This event presents numerous EOD challenges in situations that may be new for the participants. Llama Fury provides an excellent measure of each EOD team’s current capability, and allows our community to share best practices.”

“The span of explosive dangers ranges from a CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosives) response incident, to neutralizing a decades old explosive device like we did here a couple months ago on Plum Tree Island,” said Capt. Cory McCart, 633rd Civil Engineering Squadron EOD Flight commander. “We deploy overseas and are called in to defuse improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Locally, we may be sent to examine a suspicious parcel.  Wherever there’s a threat from an explosive device, an EOD airman will be there to deactivate the device."

The schedule of events for Operation Llama Fury 3.0 includes four distinct training scenarios, culminating in an event called "The Crucible."

“The Crucible and all of the training events are challenging, that’s why safety is built into everything we do. If a tactic or procedure isn’t safe, then it’s not a good tactic,” said Saum. “This event gives our community a chance to examine what we do as individuals and as teams. All of the teams are staying in our Langley Deployment Training Area, so we’ll be eating, sleeping and relaxing together. A lot of learning will occur in the evening during conversations around the barbeque grill or picnic tables.”

The Crucible is a series of scenarios that requires skill in advanced equipment and procedures, from operating an EOD robot and X-ray equipment, to vehicle search and weapons checks techniques.