MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, JAPAN --
U.S. Marines stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan conducted an explosive ordnance disposal training range on March 26, 2023, in preparation for Friendship Day, scheduled April 15, 2023. The event focused on a Marine Air Ground Task Force demonstration, which showcases the Marines' ability to conduct airstrikes and air support.
April 2023 is the first time in four years - since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic - that U.S. service members and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force members assigned to the air station have been able to host Friendship Day — an occasion in which the air station is opened to the public for an air show, coupled with an array of entertaining events, American food options, and an overall fun-filled day for visitors to enjoy.
"Friendship Day is the largest community relations outreach event in Iwakuni, so for EOD to put on a pyrotechnic display for the MAGTF [demonstration] - it’s a huge deal in the base’s integration with our host community,” said U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 3 Keran Morrison, the officer-in-charge of the EOD department assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Iwakuni. “It demonstrates our capabilities not in just our lethality, but the positive non-lethal means to provide entertainment to show how integrated the air station is.”
MCAS Iwakuni Explosive Ordnance Disposal team’s primary mission is to support the air station by detecting, locating, accessing, diagnosing, neutralizing, recovering, and disposing of hazards from foreign and domestic Unexploded Explosive Ordnance, Improvised Explosive Devices, and even Weapons of Mass Destruction that could present threats to the installation or the surrounding community.
However, Friendship Day is a unique opportunity for the EOD team to put on an explosive show to demonstrate to guests their proficiency in detonating explosives to meet the rigorous training and readiness standards mandated for EOD technicians.
“It demonstrates our capabilities not in just our lethality, but the positive non-lethal means to provide entertainment to show how integrated the air station is.” U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 3 Keran Morrison, OIC of the EOD department, MCAS Iwakuni
During the live-fire training, EOD technicians practiced steps for the handling, effects, and safe use of explosive tools, as well as the proper procedures for mitigating risks to personnel and property.
Morrison noted that the team faced numerous challenges while conducting the live-fire range due to the limited real estate and time on the flightline. Normally, EOD conducts its demolition ranges on an island a couple of hundred meters from the main base, so practicing on the airfield was a ‘win’ for the team.
“While EOD is a dangerous job, it also has a fun and controlled side, demonstrating how the team could be employed in a friendly manner,” said Morrison.
Overall, training on the flightline enabled the EOD team to showcase and refine its capabilities in a constrained location and time allotment.
With Friendship Day just around the corner, the EOD team is scheduled to continue training in preparation to showcase explosions including a small bomb, big bomb, bomb strafe, and ring of fire.