Airmen clear Melrose Range

USAF photo: Airman 1st Class Evelyn Chavez Staff Sgt. David Hewitt, 27th SOCES Explosive Ordnance Flight, hands C-4 explosive to Airman 1st Class Nathan Baloga, also with EOD on Nov. 6. The airmen were planting demolition charges at Melrose Air Force Range as part of its annual range clearance.

By Airman 1st Class Elliott Sprehe: 27th SOW Public Affairs

Cannon’s Melrose Air Force Range got rocked recently as the 27th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight conducted its annual munitions clearance and controlled demolition.

EOD began clearing the range Nov. 3 through 7 and conducted their demolition Nov. 6.

“Basically, we picked up a lot of…bombs, and we’re just getting rid of the explosive hazards,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Wilburn, 27th SOCES EOD.

“We come out and make sure to clear all the ordnance that didn’t go off,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Kredell, 27th SOCES EOD. “We clear the roads, all the targets and sites so they can be regenerated and planes can keep coming out here to drop munitions.”

When conducting the range clearance, EOD utilizes a variety of equipment and vehicles, including four-wheelers, trucks, and their own controlled explosives.

They begin by clearing all the large target sites first, before moving on to the rest of the smaller sites that they check.

“Once we’ve cleared all the heavy targets, we move and check all the other targets by running up and down the roads and making sure there’s no ordnance that anybody missed,” said Sergeant Kredell.

To conduct the clearance, EOD contacts the bombing range months in advance to secure them the time to conduct their clearance and demolition.

“A lot of planning goes into it. After we get the range time and maps of the range, we divide into sectors,” said Sergeant Wilburn.

The annual clearance ensures that the bombing range can continue to be used safely, without any issues arising.

“You want to keep the range clear of ordnance because if it builds up too much, you can have a popcorn effect where one will set off many,” said Sergeant Kredell. “We come to clear that ordnance and make sure nobody gets injured.”

After the controlled demolition, any leftover scrap metal is recycled, Sergeant Wilburn said.

“It’s a great job. We take something dangerous and make it safe by blowing it away,” said Sergeant Wilburn.