Davis-Monthan detonations work of elite explosive disposal team

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- People living near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base may be used to the planes and helicopters that fly around.

But every now and then, residents will hear a loud explosion coming from the base.

The members of the 355th Civil Engineer squadron's Explosive Ordinance Disposal team is a special group.

An elite group of airmen working to keep the public and the base safe.

To become part of the EOD, you must go through eight months of training at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

And not everyone can make the cut.

"There's a high wash out rate where we lose over 50% in the preliminary course and and once they get down to the school we lose another 50%.  We try and take only the best," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ryan Groves.

The team at Davis-Monthan has about 14 members.

Their goal when not serving overseas in a war, is dealing with explosive hazards on the base and sometimes their called out to help local law enforcement.

"We also have a good working relationship with TPD, the FBI, Pima County Regional Bomb Squad. We'll respond to anything off base that has anything to do with military ammunition," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Boriack.

The first line of defense for the explosive material is a remote controlled robot.

It has a camera and can haul over 40 pounds.

As a last resort soldiers will jump into a bomb suit like this and getting around in this suit is really difficult.

Its heavy it weighs about 80 pounds its hot we also use these down range Iraq and Afghanistan overseas.

The explosives are disposed by use of C4 on the bomb range. In our case for demonstration, about 20 blocks of C4 was used.

The explosions on base take place about once a month and the base is trying to do a better job of alerting the community of the loud bangs.

"We try to get it out to the public.  The base has its Facebook page.  We try to get it out there.  A lot of times in emergency situations we don't have time to stop and call every news agency," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason Ostberg.

Most of the time, the team tries to detonate the hazardous material during the day because it's louder at night.

The EOD Airman say once they finish training in Florida they are worth roughly around $2 million for all their skill sets, based on how much the military has invested in all their training.