Ramstein EOD ensures the mission continues

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathon McCauley, an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron, equips Brig. Gen. Josh Olson, 86th Airlift Wing commander, with a bomb suit at Ramstein Air Base, Nov. 9. Bomb suits are used to help EOD flights accomplish their mission while reducing risk of bodily harm.

Members of the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight play a critical role in the disposal of ordnance from World War I and World War II throughout the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

In the past year, 786th CE EOD personnel have detonated 210 munitions, helping to maintain mission readiness at Ramstein AB as the Gateway to the World.

“As EOD [technicians] we are first responders to prevent mission stoppages when explosives are involved,” said Master Sgt. Anthony Scott Campbell, 786th CE EOD quality assurance section chief. “These stoppages could involve aircraft, munition accidents, improvised explosive devices or suspected improvised explosive devices, and unexploded ordnances from both world wars up to today.”

As a critical location in Europe, Ramstein AB provides an opportunity for members of the 786th CE EOD to provide training and engage with partner nations.

“Here at Ramstein AB we are fortunate to have opportunities to reach out and train with a host of different countries’ EOD personnel,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Long, 786th CE EOD flight non-commissioned officer in charge of equipment. “It allows us to learn and exchange new tactics and procedures with our NATO allies.”


The EOD career field within the U.S. Air Forces in Europe area of responsibility hosts unique challenges due to unexploded ordnance left over from World War II. It’s the EOD flight’s job to ensure those ordnance are secured and disposed of so mission-critical operations can continue unhindered.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Emilio Solis, a 786th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team leader, unrolls a cable at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Nov. 9, 2020. The EOD flight at Ramstein uses many different pieces of equipment in real-world applications and in training exercises to ensure mission readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Karol)
The 86th Airlift Wing Command Chief Hope Skibitsky, detonates an explosive device at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Nov. 9, 2020. The 786th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight showcased their operations to Ramstein leadership and how vital their mission is to the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Karol)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Emilio Solis, a 786th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team leader, prepares a robot to be used in a training exercise at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Nov. 9, 2020. The EOD flight uses robots to defuse or detonate explosives so personnel don’t have to expose themselves to dangerous situations that could result in injury. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Karol)
A dummy artillery shell sits awaiting use for a training exercise at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Nov. 9, 2020. Many different kinds of inert and active explosives are used by 786th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technicians for training purposes so they can learn how to handle explosives properly and avoid incidents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Karol)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathon McCauley, a 786th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, packs C-4 explosives into a container at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Nov. 9, 2020. EOD is responsible for ensuring that all explosive material is handled with caution so it can be used to accomplish their mission and mitigate the risk of injury. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Karol)

“As the main hub for USAFE, it is important that the mission at Ramstein doesn’t stop,” Campbell said. “We do our part to keep the mission going by mitigating and neutralizing explosive hazards and ensuring aircraft can continue to provide mission critical operations by keeping runways and key locations free of explosive materials.”

Operations at Ramstein AB are vital to the success of the Air Force’s mission in Europe, the Middle East and beyond. It serves as a critical strategic location, which allows aircraft to move supplies and materials to service members who need them.


“Stoppages caused by explosive hazards could shut down the mission if we were not available to clear them,” Campbell said. “A few weeks ago we had a UXO from World War II that shut down one of the runways. Through our response we were able to resume normal operations in just a few hours.”

Because of the critical and dangerous nature of their work, the 786th EOD flight has a tight bond.

“I enjoy EOD for several reasons,” Long said. “We are such a small career field we are like our own family. The feeling of protecting personnel from potentially hazardous material and devices keeps me motivated to always better myself.”

The EOD flight works to ensure Ramstein AB remains free of UXOs. Their tireless work enables the Air Force to generate and employ air mobility and project power across air, space and cyber domains.