F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – Not many can claim to have the experience or the expertise to dispose of an explosive device or ordnance. Many of the individuals working within the 90th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight can testify that they have the expertise to do just that.
Staff Sgt. Adam Hickman, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron, explosive ordnance disposal craftsman, from Morganton, North Carolina entered the Air Force in 2009, after Basic Training he attended the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Eglin, Air Force Base. He was then stationed at F.E. Warren in 2010.
“I love working in EOD and I love the challenge,” said Hickman. “Every day is a new experience and there is always something to learn. The situations that we face on a daily basis are hardly ever the same, which keeps the job both challenging and rewarding.”
EOD is not only a very dangerous career field as one may have imagined, but there are also different aspects which fall within the mission here at Warren.
F.E. Warren was previously used as a bombing range during WWII, and unexploded ordnances are sometimes found throughout the base.
“We are constantly training on explosive ordnance and how to mitigate the explosive hazards they contain,” Hickman said. “I like the fact that there are so many aspects to EOD and love the many different challenges.”
One of the major missions within EOD is the clearing of hazards from suspicious packages and ensuring the safety of the public. EOD team members are often postured in a 24/7 emergency response standby capacity for all chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological and explosive emergencies throughout the region.
“We are asked frequently to support civilian and federal agencies in off base emergencies. With the permission of the 90 Missile Wing commander, we respond to identify, mitigate and destroy hazardous items,” said Senior Master Sgt. Philip Andrews, 90th EOD flight superintendent. “Sergeant Hickman has repeatedly neutralized dozens of lethal situations and returned a sense of safety to the community.”
While EOD operators are afforded guidance on how to identify and render safe hazard free items, there are always additional factors to consider in order to protect personnel and property.
“It’s outside the box thinking and ingenuity that makes Sergeant Hickman a great EOD team leader,” Andrews said. “His leadership by example personifies the EOD motto of ‘Initial Success or Total Failure,’ and I am proud to serve by his side.”
Top: Staff Sgt. Adam Hickman, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron, explosive ordnance disposal craftsman, poses in bomb suit near the emergency response vehicle. Photo by Terry Higgins