Westover EOD trains in Boston Subway

  • Published
  • By by W.C. Pope
  • 439th Airlift Wing

On August 18, members of the Westover Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team drove to the Metro Boston Transit Authority Emergency Training Center for some unique training in the subway tunnels in Boston.
The day’s training would consist of bomb discovery and disarming.

They were training with three other teams along with the MBTA Police who run the facility.

This repurposed subway tunnel consists of training areas with a decommissioned city bus, and two subway cars. The training center opened in June 2013 and has been used by the MBTA, Department of Homeland Security, and state and federal agencies which include military EOD units like the one at Westover.

Westover's EOD hosted the training for the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakenhurst, New Jersey. The teams were intermixed with Airman from each of the bases who had never worked together before. This offered another dimension to the training, which was the challenge of teams quickly come together to complete the mission.

Each team was sent to work on one of the three scenarios. The training center has the capability of adding real world distractions such as power disruptions, flashing signal lights, smoke, and noise distractions such as recordings of crowds and passing subway cars.

Each team was supplied with specialized x-ray machines, bomb suits, robots, and other equipment for detecting and disarming hidden detonators, bombs, and other Incendiary Devices.

Even with state-of-art equipment in the end it came down the human component with teamwork, skills, ingenuity, and cool heads.
After this long day under the streets of Boston, everyone seemed to come away with more experience to use in their EOD tool box. All of these units have mutual aid agreements with local, state, and federal agencies, and could actually find themselves in scenarios like this.

This training also gave the teams a chance to work outside of the box that each base has a tendency to fall in to.