Marine Corps Base Hawaii -- The International Association of Bomb Technicians & Investigators conference was held at the Explosive Ordnance Disposal building aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii for the first time, Wednesday and Thursday. This event was a chance for military and civilian personnel to come together, test out gear, learn, and build camaraderie.
“This is just a small example of the two communities of civilian bomb technicians and military EOD coming together in a common cause to learn what each other’s missions are,” said Jake Bohi, the Region One director of IABTI, and a retired gunnery sergeant. “With the missions overseas drawing down, the need for military EOD to have a mission stateside is becoming more predominant. Because of training like this and the ability of both professional groups to work together it is becoming easier. This type of training is absolutely necessary.”
Representatives from the FBI, IABTI, MCB Hawaii Force Protection, Army and Air Force EOD and the Honolulu Police Department trained together during this conference. Various vendors demonstrated their newest technology that could ensure more safety and precision in explosive disposal. Attendees tested various tools to see how and if they would benefit them in everyday training.
“The vendors had the opportunity to present some of the latest and best gear available to military EOD and (their civilian counterpart),” said Master Sgt. Marion E. Eggers, Staff noncomissioned officer in charge of EOD, MCB Hawaii. “This allowed for the professional growth and development of all involved. Techs had the opportunity to test the gear and then determine how suitable the products are for the day-to-day training.”
The IABTI is a nonprofit organization that supports government employees in the EOD community. Members are eligible for insurances for their families in case of accidental death or injury incurred in the line of duty. Most importantly, the organization brings together a unique and small society.
Their goal was to foster camaraderie and intellectual development between the military EOD staff and their civilian counterparts.
“The quality of the event was very successful,” Eggers said. “We will take quality over quantity every time. The relationships that these professionals build are paramount to the long-term success in counter-Improvised Explosive Device operations and investigations with all matters involving explosive hazards and situations.”
The event finished up Thursday afternoon. The organization also has an international conference scheduled for later this year in Hershey, Pa., where representatives from about 65 different countries attend, alongside vendors, other bomb technicians.
“We have different responsibilities and different experiences,” said Eggers, the director of the Hawaii chapter of IABTI. “When we share these experiences everyone wins. At the end of the day, when everyone learns from each other, no matter if it is mistakes or successes, we all walk away a little wiser.”