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Air Force recognizes top EOD flight

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The 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight was named as the best in the Air Force recently.

For its outstanding 2011 accomplishments, the flight was recognized with the Senior Master Sgt. Gerald J. Stryzak Award as part of the overall 2011 Air Force Civil Engineer and Environmental awards.

The award, named in honor of an EOD technician who died in a 1980 aircraft crash in Egypt, recognizes the EOD flight that distinguished itself as the top performing unit in the Air Force throughout the year.

"Everyone in the flight was honored to be recognized for their hard work," said Tech. Sgt. Samuel McCalister, a 2nd CES EOD technician. "Having to stay on top of training and equipment issues in between exercises and inspections, along with our high deployment rate, takes a combined effort from everyone in the flight."

Immortalized in the 2008 film "The Hurt Locker," the EOD career field is one of the most dangerous jobs in the warfighting environment today. Improvised explosive devices are the No. 1 threat to coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, accounting for 7,800 deaths and casualties in 2010 alone, according to USA Today.

Tasked with identifying and neutralizing IEDs in deployed locations, EOD technicians are continuously put into harm's way. With so many lives in their hands, the Airmen who make up this elite unit must operate with the utmost commitment to the mission.

"Everyone here is entirely dedicated, from our lowest ranking Airman to our lieutenant," said Tech. Sgt. Eric Gordon, a 2nd CES EOD technician. "The level of effort we put into our missions is the highest possible."

The award is one category of the larger annual 2011 Air Force Civil Engineer and Environmental awards, recognizing units and individuals in 36 categories throughout the Air Force civil engineer community. Air Force civil engineer leaders are scheduled to recognize the award winners at a ceremony at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., on Feb. 23.

This marks the 50th anniversary of the civil engineer awards.

Article by Senior Airman Chad Warren, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs