OAHU, Hawaii – The 142nd Civil Engineer Squadron's firefighters and Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians completed two weeks of annual training on the island of Oahu in May.
Many of the Oregon National Guard civil engineers came to the island to build cabins for the Girl Scouts of Hawaii at Camp Paumalu in Hale'iwa as part of an innovative readiness training mission. The program enables the military to work with eligible civilian agencies to obtain valuable training and work experience while providing a service for a community.
Other civil engineers sought training and collaboration opportunities at locations throughout the island. At Hickam Air Force Base, power production technicians serviced various pieces of equipment in addition to the duties performed for the IRT.
EOD technicians from the 142nd worked alongside their active-duty counterparts at Hickam as well as the Asia Pacific Counter-IED Fusion Center (APCFC), a military organization that provides training programs and information regarding counter-IED measures in the Pacific theater.
During the first week of training, evaluators developed training scenarios and constructed devices. Most of the EOD technicians arrived the second week and carried out the scenarios devised in the first week.
Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sadler, EOD director, said the experience provided realistic training for EOD technicians.
"Even things like just the environment out here - it's a different environment than what we're used to training in. The vegetation is very different and it's little things like that that create challenges when you're detecting with minesweepers, when you're doing ground-penetrating radar," said Sadler.
In addition to acclimating to a new environment, EOD worked with different devices in the training scenarios. Working with the APCFC enabled EOD technicians to focus on the Pacific theater.
The final aspect of the mission was the opportunity to work with the EOD active-duty component, giving members a chance to share perspectives and experience to enhance mission readiness and build and working relationships.
"Providing the realistic training environment and simultaneously being able to work with some of our partners out here and just being able to capitalize on some of their expertise and knowledge of this theater has been a really great opportunity to broaden our horizons a little bit," said Sadler.
In another location, firefighters took advantage of a two-week training opportunity with the Marine Corps firefighters at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) May 9-22. Airmen and Marines trained on aircraft familiarization, gained hands-on experience, and implemented egress procedures.
The MCBH training gave the Portland firefighters access to resources, said 142nd Wing fire chief, Master Sgt. Alan Duval.
"They have the space, they have the airframes, they have a live aircraft trainer for live burns that we don't have, so this is kind of instrumental training that we don't get all the time," Duval said.
The Marine Corps and Air Force may use different tactics, techniques and procedures, but the end goal of saving lives and protecting property is the same for both branches.