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Joint Effort, Joint Reward

U.S. Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Detachment B use an excavator to remove trees and brush during renovations to the explosive ordinance disposal range Sept. 21, 2020 on Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts. Improvements to the EOD range include a new road and reinforced connex viewing bunker. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Meghan Smith)

A wheel loader and five ton dump truck from Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Detachment B, work with a 439th Civil Engineer Squadron yellow wheel loader to clear earth during renovations to the explosive ordinance disposal range Sept. 21, 2020 on Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts. This joint project required Marine, Air Force, Navy and civilian assets to complete. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Meghan Smith)

U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Gage (right), Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Detachment B, oversees Marines during a tree clearing project on the explosive ordinance disposal range project Sept. 21, 2020 on Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts. Approximately 1.7 acres of trees and brush were cleared to prepare the site for a reinforced connex bunker. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Meghan Smith)

An Airman with the 439th Civil Engineer Squadron guides a dump truck with fill to level out the ground during renovations to the explosive ordinance disposal range Sept. 21, 2020 on Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts. Approximately 1.7 acres of trees and brush were cleared and the ground leveled to prepare the site for a reinforced connex bunker. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Meghan Smith)

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. --

A joint effort construction project on Westover’s explosive ordinance disposal proficiency training range began this week.

The new additions to the training site will provide increased safety and enhanced training capabilities.    

“We’re going to clear this area and put in some infrastructure to allow for the safe observation and control of the detonation range,” said David Morin, 439th Civil Engineer Squadron base civil engineer.

The squadron joined forces with tenant units on base to build the joint-use range.

“It’s a coordinated effort between civilian contractors, Marines, Air Force and we even have a Navy Corpsman out here to provide first aid coverage,” said Morin.

Range improvements include clearing approximately 1.7 acres of trees and brush, adding a connex observation bunker and building a new road made of millings, which are recycled pieces of a demolished Westover runway.

“The bunker is a converted 40-foot connex that has been armored on all sides and has armored glass,” said Senior Master Sgt. Gregory Pauli, 439th EOD program manager. “Now we’ll be able to look and make sure there is no one around the detonation site while we’re training.”

The revamped range will benefit many beyond Westover.

“Over the September drill weekend, we did a training event with about 60 personnel from an Army National Guard Unit,” said Pauli. “We also have trained with other Air National and Army Guard EOD units and with law enforcement agencies like the FBI, ATF, Massachusetts State Police, Connecticut State Police and others.”

In addition to the finished product being a training asset, the construction process also provides training opportunities.

“We’re able to get a lot of required training done this week,” said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Boudreau, 439th CES power production craftsman. “We can get signed off on many deployment and vehicle proficiency tasks.”

This joint effort has been a learning experience for all involved.

“Many of the Reservists have an unrelated civilian job, so this is also a great opportunity for them to get some hands-on training with the equipment,” said Art Herring, 439th CES roads and grounds supervisor. “Everybody can learn a different way which may be easier and safer.”

The project will take approximately two weeks to complete.