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Mar 13, 2010 1:56 AM by Ariel Wesler

Hurt Locker draws attention to Vandenberg airmen

The Hurt Locker, which took home the Oscar for Best Picture has put the spotlight on a division of the military known as the "Explosive Ordinance Disposal" or E.O.D.

At Vandenberg Air Force Base, ten airmen are part of the program. When they're not overseas, they're here at home, going through intense training. In the end, they're responsible for removing questionable devices on base and working with other bomb squads.

In true Hollywood glory ,the Hurt Locker highlights the inherent dangers found in removing explosives from a war zone but the pros say it didn't win an Oscar for realism.

"The things they do in that film are not exactly how we do it. we concentrate a lot on safety and as you can see in the film, they're pretty reckless," said Senior Airman Dan Johnson.

Johnson is on of ten airmen in the Explosive Ordinance Disposal or E.O.D program at Vandenberg Air Force Base. He says people constantly question him.

"You must be crazy to do what you do and I never really thought about it. It just seemed like a cool job," he said.

A cool job with serious consequences.

"Pretty much, anytime you face that bomb, there's always some threat," said Master Sergeant Edward Lockhart.

and stress levels through the roof, something the E.O.D. calls one of the most accurate parts of the movie.

"You're trying to work on an I.E.D. or something like that and you know there's hostile forces around you," Johnson said.

Last year, 14 E.O.D. airmen were killed while serving in Afghanistan.

The explosion created this crater, which is equivalent to blowing up a fuel loaded explosive device. In this simulation, it was 30 gallons of fuel and 20 pounds of C4.

"A lot of people didn't know what eod was before this movie, even people in the military didn't know what E.O.D. was," Johnson said.

Nationwide, the program is understaffed by 25 percent and almost half of all trainees drop out.

The E.O.D program at Vandenberg also trains federal agencies like the F.B.I on how to analyze a bomb scene.


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