Explosives training rocks base

Portland Air National Guard Base, PORTLAND, Ore.-- -- Members of Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron at Portland Air National Guard Base conducted explosives training on base as part of their proficiency requirement November 6, 2010.

Using simulated scenarios, squadron members handled explosives, detonation cords and fuses to hone their skills as plumes of smoke and shockwaves rocked the base with each successful trial.

"Like anything else, with explosives training, the more you do it, the better you are at it," said Maj. Jake Miller, commander of the 125th Special Tactics Squadron. "Historically, special tactics airmen used them for clearing airfields of obstacles that might hinder the approach of a landing aircraft."  Miller said the historical use of these explosives was centered on clearing airfields of obstructions.

125th Special Tactics Squadron member SrA Bryan Floyd said that some of the obstacles destroyed might include tree stumps, large metal objects too heavy to move or for clearing trees to create a helicopter landing zone.

More recently, Special Tactics airmen have used explosives for clearing weapons caches, rendering improvised explosive devices safe and for kicking down doors to move into buildings, Miller said.

Keeping a specific scenario in mind, squadron members headed out in teams to solve a specific problem they might encounter in a real-world scenario. Successful completion of the exercises was measured by the stopwatch --correctly-timed  explosions were praised by members of the group.

Miller stressed the importance of the training. Deployed squadron members often find themselves operating with joint service groups that depend on this skill set, Miller said.