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NEWS | May 9, 2011

Airmen run to honor EOD fallen, injured

By Senior Airman Veronica McMahon , 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

SOUTHWEST ASIA (May 9, 2011) — Servicemembers and coalition partners in Southwest Asia gathered May 7 for a 5K ‘fun run’ to celebrate the first national Explosive Ordinance Disposal Day.

More than 220 participants gathered in physical training clothes,  uniforms, tactical gear and body armor with members of the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer EOD team who wore their 75-pound bomb suits for the run.

“For EOD and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing today it was all about teamwork,” said Tech. Sgt. Ryan Mcclary, 379th CES EOD technician. “Our fellow EOD brothers and sisters in both Iraq and Afghanistan are asked to risk their lives daily. Although EOD operators assigned [here] do not have this task asked of them, we would like to show support and gratitude for their daily tasks. In addition, we honor the 15 fallen EOD operators that made the ultimate sacrifice this past year.”

EOD Day falls on the first Saturday in May, and personnel at this desert air base aren’t the only ones honoring the memory of fallen warriors.  Bases around the area of responsibility gathered in ‘Bomb Suit 5Ks’ and ceremonies to honor and support the occasion.

“People have done bomb suit runs in the past, but we just went a little bit further, I think,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Bramble, 379th CES EOD technician and event coordinator. “We allowed everyone else to bring out their [personal protective equipment] and body armor and run with us like that.”

The event was free, but donations were accepted to contribute to the EOD Memorial and Wounded EOD Warrior Foundations.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” said Airman 1st Class Jacob Butitta,  379th ECES firefighter. “We got a chance for the firedogs to show our appreciation to EOD and what they do and come out and support our [Civil Engineer] brothers.”