What are the Davis-Monthan explosions?
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - It's a common complaint for anyone who lives near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Strange explosions, sometimes at night rattle the windows of those who live nearby. Chances are, the people behind it belong to the 355th Explosive Ordinance Disposal team.
There are only about 12 hundred Air Force EOD members across the country, and about 15 are stationed at DM. On base, they work to dispose of any unsafe explosives like damaged ammunition.
"If we can store it, then we'll put it in storage," said MSgt. Ryan Groves, "but typically if we're called in something's wrong to begin with and we've got to take care of it."
In September, many residents were startled to hear explosives at night, after a day-long lock-down at the base. Groves says that is because they previously scheduled a detonation, but because of the lock-down they couldn't do it during their scheduled time.
Groves says two weeks ago, they detonated several damaged rockets which had fallen off a trailer. He says military ammunition is usually the most stable, but when their members are deployed overseas six months out of the year, they come across some very hazardous, unstable material in IEDs.
For those, they utilize robots and detectors to keep the troops safe. As a last resort, a soldier could wear a bomb suit to take care of a situation if all else fails.
Sgt. Andrew Petrulis said their goal is to stay as far from the explosives as possible, utilizing those tools that can save their lives.
"You can't even put a price on it," said Petrulis about using the robots to protect themselves, "Not only that, it's a lot of fun."
Service members like Petrulis spend 8 months training for the EOD. Out of a starting class, only about a quarter of those who begin actually finish the program. They continue their training throughout the year at Davis-Monthan by detonating practice explosives at least once a month.